There is only one word that I can use to summarise this year: successful. I would like to thank Anita as the Deputy, along with the rest of the cabinet for their support throughout the year. Without them this year would not have been as productive or have seen as many achievements as it has.
Following my election on the 22nd of February last year, I have worked on the issues of mental health, work experience and apprenticeships and clubs and activities for young people. Much of this work was a continuation of work started in the previous year, where I was the deputy. However, the work we have done has not been restricted just to these campaigns, as there is so much that the cabinet feel are issues to young people. As a result, curriculum for life has also been adopted as an area for improvement across the borough.
Rochdale Borough council has created new roles for bereavement workers, who will be there to help young people through some of the most difficult times that they will have to face. We hope that by providing specialist support for them through this time, we can reduce the demand on other services.
Many of the clubs set up through the youth opportunity fund (more about that later) also benefit mental health.
In December, Rochdale Youth Cabinet ran a week of action, which educated young people about mental health whilst also trying to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. This was achieved by going into sessions ran by the Youth Service and engaging in a dialogue about mental health, running an icebreaker that shows how mental health issues may ‘hold a person back’, and introducing the young people to mindfulness through a chocolate meditation.
Work experience and apprenticeships:
This first one is more of an update than a personal achievement, but it is worth mentioning. Gatsby benchmarks must me implemented by schools and colleges within the next few years. Since Gatsby benchmark 6 is experiences of the workplace, it earns a place in this report.
Throughout the course of the year, myself, Anita and Amaan sat on an interview panel to select who got the contract to provide career guidance across the borough. We decided to award the contract to Positive Steps, who did say that they were looking into ways to support schools and colleges as they provide work experience.
Clubs and activities:
Thanks to the YOF, many new clubs have been established across the borough. These are clubs that have been set up by young people for young people. This is a great way to get young people active, whilst also providing them with an opportunity to gain some amazing experience. Furthermore, the applicants are granted funding only if it is signed off by a panel of young people.
Curriculum for life:
The cabinet feel that it is vital to provide young people with the skills that they need to be independent in later life. We believe that this can be achieved through education, which is why we are trying to get a curriculum for life implemented within schools.
Overall, this year has seen so much across the borough. I am proud to have served my community in the way I have done alongside the cabinet. I have represented your voice locally, regionally and nationally. Whether that be as your rep at Youthforia, or at the House of Commons sitting in November. I have enjoyed being your voice at local events, such as the Mayor’s youth awards or at other events, such as the memorial service.