Two training sessions held for National Youth Reference Group Members on 30th / 31st July and 1st/ 2nd October 2015, saw 40 National Youth Reference Group (NYRG) members travelling from around the country to attend a two day training session in Birmingham. In partnership with Groundwork UK, staff designed an interactive and creative Bespoke Training course to be delivered for National Youth Reference Group Members.
NYRG is made up of young people who are or have been homeless and are supported by charities across England. The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) funds St Basils to facilitate the group.
The training brought together new members with those who have been members a while. The main aim of this training was to prepare everyone for the upcoming Youth Homeless Parliament which will be the third YHP event. The training also introduced new members and bought everyone together to have a collective youth voice on the issues surrounding youth homelessness.
The two days incorporated plenty of activities and group work emphasising common values in order for everyone to bond and come together as a group. We also welcomed new members from the YMCA in Leicester and YMCA in Exeter, DePaul UK Newcastle, Hertfordshire Youth Homeless Group and young people from organisations from Brixton London and Yeovil in Somerset.
Participants were trained and informed on the workings and history of the Parliamentary system, whilst preparing them personally, and as part of a group to deliver their manifesto in order to facilitate change.
To help them prepare their manifestos, the training included a visit from Val Keen and Anna Whalen who are St Basils Youth Homeless Advisors who spoke to the group about the main things that are currently having an impact on youth homelessness at the moment, as well as what their role is and the reworking of the ‘Positive Pathways’ model.
Some of the activities which they took part in showed them how to understand the importance of channelling passionate views and feelings constructively in order to facilitate change at a parliamentary level.
Individuals also learnt about delivery styles, techniques and practiced public speaking as well as discussing personal presentation skills, appropriate dress etc.
It was also time to say goodbye to two longstanding valuable members of NYRG - Mariam Ahmed and Paula Duffy, Hugo Sugg and Michael Keeling. They have all individually made a massive contribution to the group and been part of some outstanding work NYRG have been involved in.
Paula Duffy made a farewell speech to the group on her time with NYRG, saying: “I have loved my NYRG journey, getting to meet so many powerful and inspiring people who have all helped shape who I am now. I not only understand my own beliefs better because of them, but have patience to listen to others opinions without judging… Joining the NYRG is not just a great opportunity to meet professionals and influential change makers... (It is) a journey of self-discovery and a chance for unlikely friendships to blossom. I believe all the members play a role in helping you define who you are, all you need is an open mind and willingness to re-evaluate your judgements to make the most of it.”