On 3rd October, the British Youth Council welcomed members of alumni, current and former members of staff, current and former trustees and friends of British Youth Council to a drinks reception and celebration to commemorate 70 years since the British Youth Council was founded. With alumni reaching back to the 1970’s right up until the 2010’s, the event was the perfect recipe for exchanging stories and learning about how the British Youth Council has changed and developed over time.
Guests were welcomed by the CEO, Jo Hobbs who then introduced the key-note speaker, Lord Peter Mandelson. He talked fondly of his time as Chair of the British Youth Council, saying ‘BYC played a seminal part in my whole political formation and career trajectory… Although I’ve been in the labour party all my life, what the British Youth Council gave me was an outlook on how you should do politics in the labour party and beyond’. He then encouraged guests to support the British Youth Council to ensure the charity can continue to flourish.
Lord Peter Mandelson handed over to our incoming Chair, Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, who commented: “Nothing makes the current trustees happier than seeing the virtuous cycle of young people leading and really shaping this organisation and being shaped in turn before going off to change the world and then coming back as you all have tonight as the leaders of today.”
Anna Barker, our outgoing Chair, also took the stage and spoke eloquently and charismatically about her personal journey with the British Youth Council. From being a 15 year old carer from a low income background in rural Dorset, up until today as the award winning Charity Chair of the Year. Anna has led the charity as a board member and Chair for the last three years, astounding staff, trustees, young people and everyone in the youth sector with her uncompromising ability to campaign for change for young people. In her departing comments, Anna made three commitments;
- ‘Fun – although we are growing up, we should never stop having fun. Yes of course we should set goals and have aspirations and work really hard, but do this with joy and with light. I will ensure that today and the days that follow, the weeks and the months and the years beyond are filled with passion, joy and meaning like I’ve had at the British Youth Council.
- Give – I am a regular donor but I will also give my time and energy wherever you need it. To the current board, the staff team, I am more than ok to give that. I would also like to pledge £200 in the Big Give, which will be doubled during that campaign this Christmas.
- And finally – I promise to always elevate the experiences of young people, I promise to ask and to listen and I promise to always hold dear the vision, mission and values of the British Youth Council.’
Lewis Addlington-Lee, Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council rounded up the speeches by thanking all of the guests for coming and saying: “Your support really does mean the world. The way we give young people a voice in the UK is something that changes lives and is one of the best things about the British Youth Council.”
If you missed this event but are interested in attending other events like this, please sign up to the Friends of British Youth Council mailing list to make sure you are kept up to date.
By making a donation to the British Youth Council, you are investing in a future where young people are empowered to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives.
This year the British Youth Council will celebrate its 70th Anniversary, marking decades of its efforts to create social and political change for young people. Throughout the year, we will not only celebrate the stories of those who have been part of the youth voice movement, we’ll also celebrate the young people who continue to champion our vision for a better world.
Anna Rose Barker, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “The British Youth Council have been working to create social and political change for 7 decades. I’m really looking forward to sharing the stories of the young people who have been part of our movement for change. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that young people’s voice continue to be heard”
During our anniversary, the British Youth Council will announce it’s new vision for an environment in which young people views are valued, sought and acted upon. Moving forward the British Youth Council will continue its battle to amplify young people’s voices among decision makers in the UK and abroad.
Have you been involved with the British Youth Council over the last 70 years? We’d like you to share your memories or photos of your time within the movement. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.