YMCA George Williams College signs the #iwill Power of Youth Charter
Today, we are delighted to announce that YMCA George Williams College has signed the #iwill Power of Youth Charter.
Alongside 200 organisations across the #iwill Movement, signing the Charter signals an exciting new chapter at the College – a renewed commitment to youth voice and collaborative working with young people to ensure greater and consistent opportunities to influence the decisions and activities that affect them and the generations to come.
Since 2021, we have worked alongside young people to embed youth participation within research through our Young Evaluators Panel, supporting young people to share their stories, experiences, and own data findings to contribute to a national portrait of youth social action, and make the case to decision-makers for greater access to youth social action opportunities for young people across the UK. Through our new Centre for Youth Voice, supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, we will grow these practices beyond our projects, widening access to decision-making within our organisation to ensure young people remain at the heart of what we do. We will commit to creating opportunities for young people to positively impact their communities, deeper collaboration across research and learning generated at the College, and continued support for organisations and practitioners to increase the quality of practice that supports young people to engage with social action and become positive changemakers.
“We’re thrilled to be able to support this vital work, helping to build capacity in the wider sector, enabling even more young people to access quality youth voice and participation opportunities. There’s already so much great work taking place all over the UK and I’m looking forward to being able to amplify some of those examples of best practice. We know that change starts at home, so on Power of Youth Day, we make the commitment to be brave and ambitious and to share our learnings as we embark on this journey of sharing power at YMCA GWC” – Eli Adie, Youth Engagement Lead, YMCA George Williams College.
What does it mean to be a youth-led organisation? We asked Rorey, Young Evaluators 2021-23, to tell us what being truly 'youth-led' meant to him – he said: "When young people have the power to change the course of events. It is where funding is ringfenced for YSA, giving young people freedom to shape the activities they would like to see and participate in. It is where those supporting are empowering young people to have their voices heard, providing training so that young people are empowered to lead or shape projects. That’s what youth-led means to me. I was having a conversation the other day about what youth voice actually means, and it’s an evolving definition. According to the #iwill movement, it’s “the meaningful involvement of young people in decisions that affect them, and that influence the conditions of projects and programmes that they are involved in.” But just for a second, imagine what youth voice means to you. It’s probably a bit different. It is a very broad term - an everchanging definition, often shaped by your own experiences or delivery. Until we have a coalition of young people, youth organisations, and sector leaders in a room together, and define what is youth voice, we’ll never have a true meaning of what it is.”
We're looking forward to working with young people, youth organisations and wider stakeholders through the Centre for Youth Voice over the coming years to continue developing the resources, evidence-base and networking opportunities available to those working in Voice and Participation.
We’re committed to working collaboratively with other organisations to make sure that the Centre for Youth Voice meets the needs of those working in the sector. We will be holding consultations throughout June and July 2023, and want to hear from as many voices as possible. If you're a young person or a practitioner working in youth voice or participation - get in touch to arrange an informal chat or to find out how to sign up to one of our ‘listening sessions’.
Eli Adie (she/they) – Youth Engagement Lead – YMCA GWC