Youth Parliment & Cabinet

Youth Work Week 2019 Blog: Active members of their communities and society

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Gail Gibbons is the CEO at Sheffield Futures, leading the charity to deliver initiatives that support young people including Youth Sheffield, Sheffield’s city wide youth service. Youth Sheffield provides safe spaces where young people can feel comfortable and confident and take part in enriching activities, keeping them safe and supported to make the most of their lives. For today’s #YWW19 theme, Gail talks about how Sheffield Futures works to encourage young people in Sheffield to be active members of their communities and society.

We strongly believe that all young people have the potential to play a positive and active role in their communities and wider society; and that it is critical that young people are provided with opportunities and supported to do just that. Youth work and the youth work delivery model provides the perfect platform for enabling young people to make a positive contribution to their communities. As well as building confidence, active citizenship through youth work enables young people to demonstrate their capacity to make a difference and to develop soft skills sought by employers. It also enables young people to see the world from others’ perspectives and to develop a broader and deeper understanding of our wider society.

Active citizenship includes young people taking part in formal decision making in local areas. For example, Sheffield Futures co-ordinates the bi-annual national Mark Your Mark Campaign for Sheffield – encouraging as many young people as possible from schools, colleges, youth clubs and organisations to vote for the issues most important to them. The issues gaining the most votes are then taken forward by young people through local and national campaigns and debated by UK Youth Parliament members in Westminster. Our elected Youth Cabinet represents young people across Sheffield, and takes forward issues important to young people on their behalf – making a real difference to how services are delivered in our city. At local level, youth voice is an important part of our youth clubs – where young people are consulted on our youth work curriculum so that it really meets their needs.

Each year hundreds of young people we work with are involved in volunteering and social action projects – giving back to their local communities. Sheffield Futures is a member of the national #iwill campaign – with young people leading on a wide range of social action initiatives. These have ranged from the Woodthorpe Youth Club Social Action Project – which has recently been nominated for a local Community Award; to young people taking part in the annual Keep Britain Tidy litter pick initiative; and involvement with a local youth organisation partnership to raise awareness around issues relating to young people and health.

Our young people have also been involved this year in a number of projects aimed at educating their peers, and supporting the development of local statutory services to enable them to be more relevant and responsive to young people. For example, as part of a Home Office funded Early Intervention Fund programme, Sheffield Futures has trained up a group of young people to act as peer mentors – working with young people in schools to raise awareness about the risks of knife crime and child criminal exploitation. We are also supporting South Yorkshire Police to set up a South Yorkshire Young People’s Independent Advisory Board; and our Young Advisors are supporting the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board to improve their practices.

Our young people have taken part in a wide range of festivals and events this year – raising awareness of issues which matter to them; and providing suggested solutions to some of the most challenging issues in society today. For example, our young people have led an event as part of the Festival of Debate; have taken part in the Migration Matters Festival; have been involved in Off the Shelf festival; and have an important role in the city’s Age Hub work. One of our Young Advisors also spoke at the recent Northern Powerhouse Conference about young people, work and skills.

If you or a young person you know would benefit from getting involved in any of the initiatives mentioned here and would benefit from support please reach out to Sheffield Futures. Tel 0114 2012800 or enquiries@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Find out more about your community youth club here https://www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/things-to-do/

 

Why Human Rights Matter for our Future by Sheffield Young Advisors and Youth Cabinet Members

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The Political Quarterly recently commemorated 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with a special edition, focusing on the contemporary relevance of the UDHR within the UK.

Three young people from Sheffield Futures wrote statements for the Political Quarterly about the human rights that are most important to them and why human rights are important for the future.

To read Sheffield Youth Cabinet Members: Jude and Khalil and Sheffield Young Advisor Natasha’s pieces, please see the Political Quarterly here.

Announcement: Sheffield’s new Members of Youth Parliament!

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We are very pleased to announce the new Members of Youth Parliament.

For North Sheffield, the Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) is Daisy Taylor (Forge Valley School) and the Deputy Member of Youth Parliament is Rowan Blunkett (Forge Valley School).

For East Sheffield, the Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) is Olivia Bradley (All Saints) and the Deputy Member of Youth Parliament is Jake Sutcliffe (Park Academy).

For West Sheffield, the Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) is Jude Smith (High Storrs) and the Deputy Member of Youth Parliament is Nye Roberts (Notre Dame).

The new MYPs and DMYPs were announced in March 2019. The three MYPs will be heading to the House of Commons later this year to debate the top youth issues today, following Make Your Mark, the UK’s largest youth consultation.

New event! Bridging the gap: improving communication between the police and young people

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Thursday 30th May 2019

6-7pm at Sheffield Futures, Star House, 43 Division St, Sheffield, S1 4GE.

BOOK YOUR FREE PLACE

How can the police better communicate with young people?

Why wouldn’t a young person report a crime?

What can be done to change that?

Following on from Sheffield Youth Cabinet’s knife crime consultations with young people, we want to start a discussion to see how we can work together for a better, safer Sheffield.

In association with South Yorkshire Police.

For further information and our full programme visit www.festivalofdebate.com

Democracy Awards for the Youth Cabinet elections!

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Sheffield Futures presents Democracy Awards to schools and organisations that are involved in the Sheffield Youth Cabinet elections.

The awards are for the percentage of young people who vote in the elections, to thank them for their hard work engaging young people with democracy and their involvement helping young people to have their say.

Gold Awards

For 90% of students voting, Gold Awards go to: Sheffield Park Academy, Chaucer School

Silver Awards

For 70% of students voting, Silver Awards go to: Newfield School, Meadowhead School, High Storrs School, Birley Academy, Stocksbridge High School, Forge Valley School

Bronze Awards

For 50% of students voting, Bronze Awards go to: Parkwood Academy, Handsworth Grange School, King Ecgbert School, Sheffield High School, Silverdale School

Special Recognition Awards

For schools and organisations that have worked very hard to give the young people in their setting a voice.

Some of the schools listed were just shy of 50% of their students voting, but all put a lot of work into allowing their students the opportunity to vote with assemblies, tutor groups and lunch time. The youth clubs won the Special Recognition Award due to the number of young people voting!

The Special Recognition Awards go to: Marlcliffe Primary, Hinde House School, Yewlands Academy, Woodthorpe Youth Club, Tinsley Youth Club, Norfolk Park Youth Club.

 

Congratulations to all involved, we are proud to say that 14,121 young people voted for their Sheffield Youth Cabinet representatives – the highest number of young people voting ever!

Introducing the new Sheffield Youth Cabinet!

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We are proud to announce the following young people have been elected by their peers to become the new Sheffield Youth Cabinet.

Sheffield East

  • Olivia Bradley
  • Cameron Smith
  • Jake Sutcliffe
  • Isaac Wood
  • Tomos Hadley 

Sheffield North

  • Muneerah Al-Yafai
  • Niamh Bailey-Smith
  • Rowan Blunkett
  • Gillian Cudjoe-Atsu
  • Daisy Taylor
  • Holly Vickers

Sheffield West

  • Aneurin Roberts
  • Ben Marks
  • Isabelle McNally
  • Jude Smith
  • Robin Gibbons
  • Hina Habib 

Sheffield East

Sheffield North

Sheffield West

Young people across Sheffield voted to decide who will be elected to join Sheffield Youth Cabinet, to voice their issues and concerns on a local, regional and national level. 2019 has been the most successful year for local young people voting in the Youth Cabinet Elections, with a total of 14,121 votes!

All over Sheffield, schools and youth clubs have been promoting the Youth Cabinet Elections, with posters advertising the school’s candidates as well as proud parents tweeting support on Twitter!

Outwood Academy posted their support for the elections, showing their Democracy student elections voting for their chosen candidates.

Birkdale School said: “Great to see so many pupils engaged with politics and voting for the Sheffield Youth Cabinet and Sheffield UK Youth Parliament.”

The candidates presented their manifestos in early February, which include their policies on important local issues such as mental health, environmental issues such as plastic usage, youth loneliness, knife crime, gang culture and period poverty.

The Elections announcement took place at Sheffield Town Hall and celebrated the achievements of the previous Youth Cabinet Members since they began their posts in 2017. Exiting members told of how they debated in the House of Commons, held events to tackle knife crime, consulted with young people in their area and more.

Members of Parliament Gill Furniss and Louise Haigh sent messages of support to the new Youth Cabinet, with Louise saying “politics affects us all, regardless of age. It is important that we value the opinions of young people.”

Former Members of Youth Cabinet spoke about their incredible achievements during the last two years including implementing a 16-18 Travel Card with local transport providers and more.

Jude Smith, Member of Youth Cabinet said: “I’m a completely different person to who I was before joining Youth Cabinet. I have friends all over the UK – it’s all down to the networking that it provides.”

Sapha Habib, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament said: “I have a much wider knowledge of politics, years ago I knew nothing about politics and now I am studying it and it’s going to be part of my life moving forward!”

Kate Hardy, Member of Youth Parliament said: “The main issue in the Make Your Mark [youth consultation] was knife crime, so we went out to youth clubs and spoke to young people about the issue. They were all so helpful. We asked about safety and solutions and then held an event at Sheffield Futures to consult with more young people.

Sam Broadhead, Sheffield Member of Youth Parliament offered some advice to the new Youth Cabient: “If you get an opportunity, you should take it. Being part of Sheffield Youth Cabinet means you will end up doing things you never could. It’s an incredible experience, so make the most of it.”

The group wished the new candidates well as they started their term in office.

Councillor Jackie Drayton thanked the former Youth Cabinet Members and told the new Cabinet that the programme “makes such an impact and a difference, not just for young people, but for everyone in the city.”

Sheffield Youth Cabinet Elections – counting is underway!

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Sheffield Youth Cabinet (SYC) and Members of Youth Parliament are busy counting the votes to decide who will be the next SYC and MYPs next week at the elections announcement evening.

Young people across Sheffield voted in their thousands to decide who will voice their issues and concerns on a local, regional and national level. The candidates presented their manifestos in January that included their policies on important issues such as knife crime, mental health and more.

Youth clubs and secondary schools have been encouraging young people to have their voices heard and make their votes count, by deciding who represents local them.

Largest youth consultation points to ending knife crime as top issue in Sheffield and nationwide

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Putting an end to knife crime has been voted as the top issue in the city as well as nationwide. That’s the result of the annual Make Your Mark Ballot, the UK’s largest national youth consultation in which 1 in 5 young people cast votes including 10,121 young people in Sheffield.

Thirty per cent of young people from across the city who voted said that too many young people’s lives had been lost and called on the Government to do more to tackle what they called the ‘knife crime epidemic.’

Improvement of mental health services and provision in schools (14 per cent), equal pay for young people doing the same work as adults in equal work (11 per cent), tackling homelessness and providing everyone with a place to live and an opportunity to live comfortably (10 per cent) and making public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all (8 per cent) were voted as the remaining priority issues by Sheffield’s young people respectively.

Kate Hardy, Member of Youth Parliament for Sheffield East says “In recent months the surge in violent crimes committed by young people has become more than apparent and seems to have affected many.’

‘I feel there’s a direct correlation between the cuts to youth services and the increase in violent acts, particularly knife crimes, amongst young people and said cuts urgently need to be reversed.’

‘Over the past three years over 600 youth centres have been closed across the UK and an 11% increase in knife crimes amongst young people seems to be the repercussion. Interestingly this comes at a time when there has been a 10% decrease in knife crime amongst adults. The government needs to take immediate action in order to stop further unnecessary deaths of Sheffield youth.”

As well as campaigning on these locally elected issues, Sheffield’s elected Youth Parliament members or MYP’s visited the House of Commons on Friday 9th November to debate the top five issues nationally with Youth Parliament members from other local authority areas as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. They have now agreed the top two national issues on the day to be taken forward as national campaigns: putting an end to knife crime and mental health.

Commenting on the results from the report Gail Gibbons, CEO Officer at Sheffield Futures comments ‘It’s fantastic to be able to facilitate Sheffield’s young people in setting their local campaigning agenda to get their voices heard and initiate change locally as well as getting their voices heard at a national level.’

‘It’s so important that we listen to our young people and take action to enable positive change in our communities.’

‘We’re really proud of our Sheffield UK Youth Parliament members and look forward to the outcomes of the national UK Youth Parliament debates at the Houses of Commons.’

 

UK’s largest youth consultation tackles the biggest issues for young people today

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Sheffield Futures is taking part in this year’s Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country.

VOTE NOW

In a national annual ballot running from 23rd August until 10th October, young people across the country will be asked what issues matter most to them, in order to determine what is debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons in November. Voting takes place through ballot papers issues in schools and youth clubs throughout the UK and online. Please vote here!

Ten topics will be available to choose from on the Make Your Mark ballot paper, with the five most popular topics among young people going on to be discussed by Members of Youth Parliament in their November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

Last year’s Make Your Mark ballot saw nearly 950,000 young people voting, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK.

Sheffield Futures support UKYP to campaign on the biggest issues facing young people today. Sarah Stevens, Sheffield Futures Young People’s Participation and Development Manager said: “It’s so encouraging that more young people are getting engaged with the issues which affect them, are challenging these issues and making sure that action takes place.

UKYP campaign to ensure those who can make positive change hear young people’s voices. Make Your Mark ensures that all the top youth issues are raised in schools, to local MP’s and commissioners. We are very proud of all they have achieved.”

This year, young people will be asked to choose their top issue out of the following

  • Mental Health – Mental health services should be improved with young people’s help; and should be available in schools.
  • End Period Poverty – Sanitary products are an essential item. The Government and the NHS should make them free and accessible for all who need it.
  • Votes at 16 – Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections / referendums.
  • Put an end to Knife Crime – Too many young people’s lives are lost to knife crime; the Government need to do more to help end the knife crime epidemic.
  • A curriculum to prepare us for life – Schools should cover topics like finance, sex and relationship education and politics.
  • Support Youth Services – Youth services help young people but in recent years they have been cut. Youth services need better financial support and security.
  • Equal Pay for Equal work – Give young people the same amount of pay, if they are doing the same work as adults in the same job.
  • Let’s tackle Homelessness – Every person should have a place to live and the opportunity to live comfortably. Let’s make it happen and put a stop to homelessness.
  • Transport – Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all.
  • Welcome Refugees – UK Everyone deserves the right to live without fear of death and persecution so we believe that refugees should be welcomed into communities in the UK.

Sheffield Members of Youth Parliament visit House of Commons

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Sheffield’s elected Members of Youth Parliament or MYPs, Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield), Jennifer Okerenta MYP (North Sheffield) and Sapha Habib MYP (East Sheffield) went to the House of Commons on last Friday to debate the top five issues nationally and agree the top two issues for national campaigns with Youth Parliament members from other local authority areas, as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. After a very impressive debate from MYPs from across the United Kingdom including a powerful and eloquent speech from Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield) on protecting LGBT+ people, ‘votes at 16’ and ‘a curriculum to prepare us for life’ were agreed as campaigns to take forward.

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Left to right- Jennifer Okerenta MYP (North Sheffield), Sapha Habib MYP (East Sheffield), Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield)

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Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield) and nominated speaker for Yorkshire & the Humber, in action, delivering her powerful and eloquent debate led speech

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