Looking back at 2017 there have been some amazing moments for us, with our programmes growing from strength to strength, our campaigns reaching new heights and even winning awards for leadership and excellent governance. Our CEO, Jo Hobbs has not only survived a year with us, but she has led our organisation and wonderful staff team to raise the impact and aspirations of the British Youth Council and youth voice in the UK and internationally.
Young people have been front and centre of the news this year with a remarkable turnout in the snap election and the Votes at 16 campaign gaining support in the lead up to the Private Members Bill in Parliament. Brexit negotiations have continued and we have been at the heart of ensuring young people are consulted and represented in this.
One of our fantastic flagship programmes, UK Youth Parliament, saw another impressive year for Make Your Mark with almost million young people taking part yet again. The House of Commons debate highlighted the impressive campaigns and inspiring young people with Votes and 16 and A Curriculum For Life coming out on top.
Our Youth Voice Star Awards gave us a moment to stop and reflect on the astonishing people and projects across the UK that exist to give young people a voice, congratulations to all those nominated and those who won an award. I want to take this moment to thank all of the youth workers, staff members, supporters and funders at the British Youth Council but in other youth organisations too, for your time, support and belief in young people. Your work is often thankless and all-consuming, so thank you for your time and effort.
Looking forward to the future for the British Youth Council I am thrilled with what is to come. In the Spring, we will be launching our three-year strategy with our members, supporters and youth sector friends. It also marks the 70th year of our organisation! This deserves some celebration, so I can’t wait to re-engage with some of our members from across the years to rekindle our alumni engagement; and also, to look forward with the young people we work with now, to ensure the British Youth Council is best placed to look ahead into the next 70 years and represent young people.
Most importantly, I am excited to be working with other young people who are inspired and empowered to make a difference in their lives and the communities around them. Whether their passion is Brexit, transport, mental health, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights or anything else – as the national youth council of the UK we will be supporting YOU to have a voice that so desperately needs to be empowered and heard.