Gina and Sean both lived at St Basils in 2009 and 2010, respectively – now they are the newest Board members at St Basils.
This shows a new phase for the Board of St Basils, having former residents on the board is an exciting development, and reflects our commitment to a young people-centred service.
This move has been made in line with our values and mission statement and strategic priority ‘Young people first’. Gina and Sean will join the Board as equals to other members, to provide a new perspective and share their unique insight into and experience of St Basils.
This has come after years of dedication to St Basils from both new Board members – as Tamzin Taylor-Rosser, National Engagement Manager, describes: “It is a bit of a proud moment for me… both Sean and Gina have engaged with St Basils for 5 or 6 years”. This engagement has included speaking at conferences, involvement with Pay Ahead Stay Ahead, as members of the Youth Advisory Board and extensive involvement in the national groups that St Basils facilitates, the National Youth Reference Group (NYRG) and the Youth Homeless Parliament (YHP).
We spoke to Gina and Sean about why they think having young people on the Board is important.
Sean said: “It gives the young people, us, the ability and the experience of actually sitting on a Board and knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. And it gives the Board members an insight to ask young people what it’s actually like on the other side, knowing that we’ve been in supported housing. We know the service and we know how we would want people to approach young people, and want them to work with us, and to work with them effectively.”
Gina added: “Of course people can be qualified and go to college or university but they haven’t got the life experience… We’ve actually been there: we’ve had the treatment and we know what’s going to work and what won’t. Obviously young people are changing but the young people working with St Basils probably have similar issues to what we had. I think we bring a lot of experience and knowledge as well, we’ve done a lot with St Basils... St Basils works really well with young people, look at me: I started off with St Basils and now I’m a Board member.”
The development of a relationship between young people and the Board has been an ongoing process. From having young people present to Board meetings, to participant observers from the former Youth Advisory Board, the relationship has developed over the years – to a point where Gina and Sean join the St Basils Board as fully co-opted members.
Tamzin Taylor-Rosser describes the importance of this timing:
“Over the last couple of years the Board have really wanted to embed young people as fully-fledged Board members... As members of NYRG, their extensive experience means they can meaningfully engage - they’re not going to get left behind.
For me it’s such a proud moment and gives inspiration to other young people, including younger National Youth Reference Group members and certainly St Basils’ young people. From an engagement point of view, this doesn’t happen – we are quite ground-breaking I think here.”
Written by Grace MacInnes, student volunteer