Empowerment and young people: the answers are within

The LGiU is, for the second time, taking part in the Changemakers Future Leaders programme. This means for the next six months we will have a young person (known as a Young Advocate) placed with us, who will lead a project designed to help the LGiU improve and increase the way that we engage with young people.

So for two days this week I’ve been locked away at a residential in Chester, working with the LGiU’s young advocate to come up with a project that will help us do exactly that.

The residential offered a supportive environment for all the Young Advocates to talk about the issues that mattered to them; and most importantly how they would develop a project to do something about these issues.

What struck me about all the young people was their passion to change the world; starting with their own communities. The one theme being that they all wanted to make a positive contribution to what is on their own doorstep.

Some of the project ideas that were presented included: breaking down barriers between communities and uniting them through common interests; getting more young people involved in local politics and decision making; and making communities safer for young people. Exactly the issues that local authorities are dealing with every day.

The time out of the office, engaging with these young people reminded me just how important empowerment and engagement is – especially in a time when tight budgets are making people question the feasibility of it. Why? Because people want to have their say on how to tackle the most difficult issues in their local areas; young people especially, are passionate and want the opportunity to make a difference. Plus – the answers are often held within.