What Youth Council Is All About
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Have you thought about getting into politics, but weren’t really sure where to start? We spoke to Deputy Young Mayor of Tower Hamlets and Member of Youth Council, Muhsin, all about the whats, hows and whys of getting involved in Youth Council. Check out what he had to say...
What is Youth Council?
When people say ‘there’s nothing for young people that makes a difference’ I say ‘If only you knew about Youth Council, it’s literally built for and by young people!’.
Youth Council is where you can officially be a part of revolutionising young people’s lives and be involved in decision-making processes.
So if you want to potentially build connections with local MPs and the mayor of your borough, Youth Council is the place you want to be. Your voice could be the game-changer for some of the most relevant issues young people face.
What do Youth Parliament/Council members do?
Members of Youth Council are called upon by adults for advice on issues affecting the youth. Members are asked for their opinions, insights and knowledge on whether a scheme, policy, or project will benefit young people.
You’ll also make a difference yourself by leading on projects, visiting schools and running activities. Some councils also have residential trips to refine and perfect your skills, like team-building and leadership.
How and why did you get involved?
We always talk about a better world, but how often do we ourselves try to change it? I didn’t want to just sit on the sidelines and complain, so I joined Youth Council to be heard and make a difference.
Surprisingly, it was dead easy to get started! I simply asked my school head of year for the council’s ‘children’s services’ email and got cracking. Then I typed up an email explaining who I am and why I’m so passionate to join. A few days later, I got a response and an invitation to the council.
But if that’s not possible for you, just snoop around on the council’s website, or call them up, asking about Youth Council. Almost every council has one and if they don’t, why not ask to help set one up? Other places to get started are UK Youth and British Youth Council.
Your school is also another hotspot for chances to be involved. Honestly, don’t undervalue the connections some of your teachers have, so take advantage of it! But finding out what you want to be involved in can be the trickiest part. This is where you could, as boring as it may sound, watch the news! Also, read books and listen to podcasts like: Sky News Daily, Beyond Today, BBC Newscast and The Guardian’s Politics Weekly.
This will all help you identify issues and pick out what exactly you want to help change.
What types of things are involved/necessary?
To take up the challenge of being a part of Youth Council you need the following tools: a hunger and desire to learn and take on tips and advice, willingness to be involved in projects and activities, time on your hands to attend meetings or panel discussions, and, the most underrated skill...politeness! Because if you can’t ask politely, you won’t get anything.
What’s been the most rewarding part of being involved?
The most rewarding part is the final stage of every project. This golden period is when you visibly see the difference you’ve helped to make, for example, when a new scheme or initiative is rolled out that young people are buzzing about, it makes you feel fulfilled.
Have you seen an impact from your time as a member?
In December 2019, our Youth Council and Young Mayor Team ran a ‘Youth Achievement Awards’. This platform honoured and appreciated young people for their hard work in the community. Since then, every single award winner has felt motivated and continued their work. And that’s the difference we like to make!
What bit of advice would give to anyone wanting to bring about political change or get into politics?
I wish someone told me this earlier but actively seek and chase opportunities. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Google is only a click away, so regularly search sites like your local council, for any opportunities in your area.
Head back to the hub for more ways to be epic, live life, do good and go party.