“Enlightening”, “Fun”, and “Representative” … the first Youth Council was a success! - YMCA DownsLink Group

“Enlightening”, “Fun”, and “Representative” … the first Youth Council was a success!

Youth Council first meeting, the young people standing together smiling

Last month, we held the first ever Youth Council meeting with 9 residents from almost all of our 24-hour accommodation projects. The young people volunteered their time to attend, representing their housing projects and speaking on behalf of other residents.


The session was led by the Inspire Team: Aisling, Amy, and Jessica, who created a really engaging session where the young people shared lots of ideas and asked important questions. The residents started by discussing why they wanted to be there, some spoke about their desire to improve aspects of their own projects, while others wanted to meet new people and find out what it’s like in other projects.

After a few ice breakers, everyone was laughing and feeling more relaxed within the group. The young people made it clear that they wanted the sessions to be a safe space where they would all have a chance to speak and would not be spoken over. They also voted on changing the name of ‘Youth Voice Forum’ to ‘Youth Council’ as they felt that better represented them as a group.

It was great to hear the young people speak passionately about their new role, agreeing that they wanted to be an inspiring role model to other residents and a friendly peer to welcome new people into their projects.

At the end of the session, everyone was asked to describe the afternoon in one word, they said: representative, good, enlightening, fun, exciting, funny, decent, interesting, enjoyable, not bad, wonderful, and wonderful meeting everyone.

As the residents were leaving, they said they were really excited for the next session and happy they decided to turn up. We’re so pleased that they also came away having made new friends and feeling empowered to be a role model and help create positive change.

The Youth Council is an excellent platform for residents to have their voices heard so we want to say a huge thank you to the whole Inspire Team for their hard work in making this happen, and to the young people who volunteered their time to be involved. We can’t wait to see what’s next for the Youth Council!

*UPDATE* Click here to read about the Youth Council’s visit to the Houses of Parliament, including a private tour with an MP and their involvement in a debate with Home Secretary Suella Braverman in the House of Commons. 

Three members of the youth council writing their ideas on a white board The youth council in a meeting sat discussing various topics


YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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