St Basils young resident reps helped by St Basils youth engagement co-ordinator and accommodation managers put on an event to officially launch St Basils new ‘Youth Council’ on Saturday 16th August.
For the past 8 years St Basils strategic priority 'young people first' has been deeply embedded in the structure of St Basils operations thanks to a Board for St Basils young people named the Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The Youth Council is a larger St Basils run youth-led entity that replaces YAB. Moving away from a formal Board structure the Youth Council has a larger membership capacity and includes young people who have been elected as the Resident Representative of each of St Basils 27 supported accommodation schemes, thus ensuring lines of communication back to young people living at each project.
The main aim of the day was to inspire more St Basils residents to get involved and engage with St Basils opportunities for young people and to help them understand that they can have a say in how St Basils is run, that their feedback is important to staff and staff need their input to help shape and improve services.
Resident Rep Jamayne Brown who headed up the planning committee for the Youth Council launch shared at the start of the event what being involved in St Basils committees has meant to him and how it has helped him.
The key-note speech came from Cllr Sharon Thompson JP who was a resident of St Basils in the 1990s. Sharon shared her inspirational journey from becoming homeless aged 17 to where she is today, working for Birmingham City Council as a local Councillor. Since leaving St Basils she has also worked with the Home Office, finished her education through Open University and been a magistrate. She emphasised the importance of taking advantage of all and any opportunities and explained how a lot of the opportunities she has had, have led on to other things.
As well as informing St Basils young residents, the event aimed to entertain them and give them the opportunity to showcase their own talents to each other. The launch included a number of performances from external performance groups and 2013 local X-Factor hopeful Jai Scarce but also St Basils young people and an open mic session. A range of fun activities brought young people from different accommodation schemes together, including Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Nail Art, Photo makeover and Body Beats. There were also a number of stalls there from local groups including Active Parks, Access to Music and WMFS. Yvonne Mosquito from theWest Midlands Police also attended the launch.
A Raffle on the day raised £40 for the Youth council’s activities fund. St Basils would like to thank Asda in Small Heath for donating gift sets as raffle prizes and also bedding and towels for our nearby accommodation schemes, Asda in Kings Heath for donating a £10 gift voucher, Tesco in Sheldon for donating chocolates, sweets and children’s books and M&S in Solihull for donating a £10 gift voucher.
The launch of the Youth Council was officially marked with a count down and a balloon release by the young people. The next event is planned for November 2014.