Hi, I’m Zara, a 24-year-old NHS Project Manager from Walsall in the West Midlands.
I was elected as a Trustee at the British Youth Council’s 2019 Annual Council Meeting (ACM). Over the last 3 years, I have represented the charity at various meetings and events, served as Chair of the Risk Committee and been involved in our Trustee recruitment.
I discovered my passion for youth voice when I joined my local youth group, the Youth of Walsall (YOW), back in 2016. I was Chair from 2017 to 2019 and, during that time, I led the group’s ‘Real Knives, Real Lives’ knife awareness campaign which won the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s Community Thank You Award. We worked in partnership with various organisations to create a short film, organise knife crime awareness sessions and run an art competition. I definitely caught the youth voice bug! I’m also a huge advocate for apprenticeships and vocational education and was lucky enough to be awarded Apprentice of the Year in the Charity, Voluntary and Public Services category at the BAME Apprenticeship Awards 2021.
I had never thought about being a Trustee before I saw the position on the British Youth Council’s Twitter page, but attending the Midlands Conventions and seeing first-hand the brilliant work that the British Youth Council does, made me think that this could be the next step in my youth voice journey. One of the (many) things that I love about the British Youth Council is that the Trustee Board is made up of young people who are under the age of 25 when elected/appointed to the Board – we truly embody our value of being an organisation lead by young people for young people.
Being the Chair of the British Youth Council is an absolute honour and privilege and not an opportunity that is afforded to many young people. There is no doubt that we will be navigating through a difficult few years, with a Cost of Living crisis, political instability and a potential recession on the cards. However, my hopes for the future are to continue to diversify our income, create a strategy that will utilise our strengths and make a positive impact on young people’s lives. Underpinning all of this is a continued commitment to ensuring young people are involved in key decisions that affect their lives.
I’m really excited to be leading the charity and continuing to work with our amazing Board and Staff Team! I look forward to meeting many of you over the next 2 years!