2023 for us Young Advisors felt like one of recuperation, realignment and reassessing what impact we wanted to make with the voice and platform that we have in our city. After COVID, and the time of healing and regeneration that followed, the YAs felt that the position we held and the work we did prior to the pandemic wasn’t entirely congruent with our charity and our city now. The pandemic not only changed how we work and learn (whether that’s online or hybrid-style), but it also changed the way us young people feel about getting involved in communities after nearly two years of being locked indoors or kept (literally) at a distance from one another.
Our previous focus for our work had primarily centred around working more with organisations, businesses, schools and the council for a top down approach to get the voices of young people heard. However, once we finally got ourselves back into Star House and back to our regular business meetings, we felt a shared sense of need to rebuild our communities from the ground up after they’d been so greatly disrupted. We talked about how young people were feeling more disconnected from one another, from our communities and from causes we cared about and this led us to reassess what we wanted to do to help the young people of Sheffield.
So, back to the drawing board we went! After many a brainstorming session, spider diagram, google search, conversation, debate and a million cups of teas and biscuits we came up with 5 areas we felt young people should have more opportunities to connect with:
Arts and Culture
Real world practical education
Sexual and personal health
Although the 5 themes are not exhaustive of things we feel young people need (for example, work experience, political voice, health and exercise etc.) we felt these were a solid jumping off point to get us started. And start we did!
After 4 months of writing, meetings and planning, we finally took our proposed 5 youth led social action projects to the Sheffield Futures Board of Trustees for funding in September 2023 and are pleased to say we were granted full funding!
SO, without further ado, we would like to announce the five upcoming YA projects we have scheduled for 2024 (cool names and graphics pending)!
- Sheffield Futures Film School – a 4 week programme in collaboration with Goons Productions providing up to 16 Young people hands-on experience making their own short films (with a swanky film premiere at The Showroom to boot).
- Let’s Talk… Peer Education Programme – peer led education sessions on real world topics including money education, substance misuse, knife and gang crime, period education, cybersecurity and gender, identity and sexual health.
- Future Roots – mindfulness sessions with a green thumbed focus held across a variety of spaces across the city.
- Period Empowerment Moon Clubs – Held monthly for those who experience periods in collaboration with Irise, to learn, discuss and celebrate all things menstrual.
- Neuro Inclusive Spring Fling – A big ol’ do to celebrate our young people that is sensory aware and a safe space for everyone.
With a new fire in our bellies and plenty to be cracking on with, we’re so excited to get stuck in and back making meaningful change for the young people of Sheffield. We might not be able to tackle all the things we feel young people are missing but we feel this is a pretty strong start, and there’s always 2025 to get on with the rest…
Kate – Young Advisors’ Lead