Youth Advisory Boards

Young people are the experts in youth matters – capturing young people’s voices and using them to inform developments is essential to ensure that we deliver services which meet the needs of young people

YAB Aims

The aim of Youth Advisory Boards (YABs) is to identify issues that impact on young people and to play a strategic role in meeting these needs. Young people are the experts in youth matters – capturing young people’s voices and using them to inform developments is essential to ensure that we deliver services which meet the needs of young people.

Youth Advisory Boards are made up of young people and adult professionals who come together to make a positive change for young people and the communities they live in. Young people are consulted on the ongoing developments to the service and are given the opportunity to dictate ongoing developments as participation increases.

Each year, YABs will identify the issues that young people care most about and then take action through campaigning, lobbying, advocacy, and commissioning services. The YABs’ ambition is to influence all services design, delivery, and policies to make them what young people want and need and to improve outcomes for all young people and their futures.

YAB Focus

YMCA DLG Youth Advisory Boards aim to elevate voices that lack representation in society, paying attention to the fact that some groups of individuals in society are disproportionately affected by issues such as mental health, domestic violence, poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.


How can I get involved?

All you need to do is complete the sign-up form at the top of this page.

What do you do at YAB meetings?

Meetings vary, but the basic structure is as follows:

  • Icebreakers to introduce staff and young people.
  • Opportunity for young people to provide feedback around their experiences.
  • Signposting to information, advice, guidance and support services.
  • Summary, Reflection & Next Steps

How do meetings work during COVID-19?

In line with the Government and Public Health England’s social distancing guidelines, YMCA Youth Advisory Boards will be delivered through an online model until further notice.

Whilst it’s a shame we can’t meet you face to face at the moment, one great advantage is that we are able to bring young people together from across all YMCA Youth services at the same meeting!

How do meetings work after COVID-19?

After the pandemic, we aim to continue Youth Advisory Boards locally, face to face.

Do I have to sign-up for a specific meeting?

No! All you need to do is sign-up once using the link at the top of the page and let us know you’re interested in taking part in our Youth Advisory Boards; you get to decide which meetings you want to attend. We’ll keep you up to date about what we’re doing through emails and social media.

What if I can’t make all of the meetings?

Sign up anyway! You can attend as many or as few meetings as you want – it’s completely up to you. If you can’t attend a meeting for any reason, you can always look at the meeting agenda and email us your feedback or complete one of our surveys.

Can I still attend a group if I don’t identify as LGBTU+, for example?

Our Youth Advisory Boards are as inclusive as possible, so we invite allies of our marginalized communities and those who want to learn more to attend the meetings. Youth Advisory Board meetings can be an important space for young people to educate each other about their own experiences, learn about different perspectives and change their own opinions.

How do we know if we have actually made a difference?

After our meetings, we will put your words into action within our services and wider organisation. Once we’ve had some time to do that, we’ll send a ‘You Said, We Did’ letter via email, letting you know what we’ve done to put your voices into action.

What’s in it for me?

You can be a part of a youth movement, which makes young people’s voices the key contributor to ongoing developments. With your support, we can improve young people’s services for everyone.

We’ll also provide you with self-development opportunities, whether that’s supporting you to complete your own campaigns or connecting you with volunteering opportunities. Plus, once we return to working face to face, we promise there’ll be some food!

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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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