I am delighted to be joining the British Youth Council as Chief Executive. I have had such a warm welcome already from members, trustees, staff and stakeholders and have been chomping at the bit to get started. Ever since I became a Brownie at the age of 7, I have been exposed to the benefits of young people having a voice and the confidence that they can make a difference. More than ever it is crucial that we create every opportunity for young people to be at the heart of decision-making, influencing and shaping those decisions that impact on their lives, as well as taking action within their communities.
It has been great to be able to attend two major members’ events in the run up to starting, giving me a great flavour of things to come. In September I attended the Annual Council Meeting and was so impressed by the quality of motions and debates. The young people who attended, from organisations as diverse as The Scout Association and Ambitious about Autism to Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet and Croydon Youth Council, spoke with passion and integrity, and showed great respect for each other’s views. Two weeks ago, I felt truly honoured to have been sitting in the gallery for the UK Youth Parliament sitting in the House of Commons. This event shows the power of youth voice and gives me hope that these amazing young people can truly make a difference through their commitment and actions.
And so it is fantastic to stepping into this role in #iwill week, a moment when we are all celebrating youth social action and the difference that young people can make. The British Youth Council is proud to be a supporter of the #iwill campaign and will be joining in the celebrations this week. It is particularly special that the British Youth Council has been nominated for two Children and Young People Now Awards including the Youth Volunteering and Social Action Award, recognising the outstanding work by young people, staff and trustees on Make Your Mark, which this year gave almost a million young people a chance to have their say, and the campaigns on mental health and racism and religious discrimination. Particular thanks need to be given to our former CEO, James Cathcart, whose passion and commitment to youth voice and participation was unbounded.
I am now looking forward to working with the Board of Trustees and staff team to drive forward the vision of the British Youth Council. We will be developing a new strategy, in consultation with members, young people and stakeholders, to ensure that the British Youth Council continues to empower young people with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be heard and make a difference, locally, nationally and globally.