The winners of the British Youth Council’s Youth Voice Star Awards, Bright Minds Big Futures, lead the way in making sure the voices of local youth are heard! Read about how they’ve crafted their way into Stockton-On-Tees’ council and are set to make waves with their ‘Big Plan’ campaign. Kameron Spence of Bright Minds Big Futures tells us more…
The story of Bright Minds Big Futures (BMBF) started about two years ago with just a handful of young people meeting together to get more involved within local events happening in Stockton-On-Tees.
It was after an increased interest of young volunteers that we were able to start a press team– where we would be invited to report on events run by the local council.
As a team, it was our mission to attract people from the local area to events by producing content and supplying a visually unique experience of the individual events to our audiences. One of our live streams reached 22k views, and very quickly BMBF gained its local fame.
Once the press team was up and running, we developed our game-changing ‘Social Action’ team. This gave young people in Stockton-On-Tees a chance to get more involved with local charities, whilst developing themselves personally and professionally. They were able to volunteer on causes that they cared about and gain skills in writing CVs and personal statements in return.
The interest in the social action team fuelled us to host our own gig at our local venue, showcasing the talent of our area and giving young people a safe place to hang out. Our most recent gig raised over £350, which all goes back into BMBF for equipment and future projects.
Finally, we then went on to develop our exceptional ‘Big Committee‘, a cabinet of young people who come together to address and debate issues facing the youth of our Borough.
The committee itself was designed to mirror the divisions within the council, where every young person at the table uses their leadership skills to direct their own department. The committee helps promote democracy to young people. They do this by voting on topics and debates that are relevant to them, and even electing their own chair to represent them. It gives young people a direct and effective way of expressing their opinions into local politics.
I have had the pleasure of being the elected chair of the committee for almost seven months now. This involves writing agendas, picking topics for debates and representing the committee at events & conferences all around the UK.
Our biggest achievement was having our very first youth manifesto called ‘The Big Plan’, which found its way to be reviewed and approved within Stockton Councils Cabinet. This plan, written up entirely by young people, lays out the specific issues the youth face locally and nationally. It states the ways we wish to tackle the issues and the support we will need from councillors and local MPs to do so.
The plan had tremendous praise from each elected member of Stockton’s council and the director, resulting in the pairing up of every Big Committee member with an official.
All of us at BMBF love the work we do and think it is a wonderful way to get young people involved in politics and in influencing decision-making on policies that affects them directly.
The support from Stockton Council has helped us tremendously in giving young people a voice and they stand as an exemplifier to other councils around the U.K.
We are proud of all that we have achieved so far and look forward to the future.