Photo: Outgoing Youth Leader (Havering’s first), Alicia Murphy
An online election will be taking place today (Thursday the 9th of May 2013), to select one of three young candidates who wish to represent the views of their peers across Havering London Borough, as Young Leader. As the Borough’s website advises eligible voters, “The post holder will participate in the Havering Youth Congress, where they will listen to and represent your views. The Young Leader will meet with other young people, within the borough, across London and the rest of the UK, so that they can tell politicians what young [people] think and feel.” It goes on to say that they will:
- Advise Havering Councillors on youth issues;
- Represent young people in Havering, London and nationally;
- Develop ideas and work with other bodies to further younger people living, working and studying in Havering;
- Attend ceremonial events.
Here’s what these inspiring young people have to say about themselves…
My name is Alice Donohue and I am 20 years old. Over the past few years, I have been Head Girl at my School, the Member of Youth Parliament for Havering and Chair of the Havering Youth Council. I have also worked closely alongside the police as a member of both the CPCG and IAG panels I also co-run a charity with a friend of mine supporting young people and encouraging them to involved in volunteering and charity work.
I am keen and a good listener and I have done a lot of work with young people. As a young person, I feel the young leader role is perfect for me as I have already worked closely alongside the Council and have the necessary skills to take on the role! I am lots of fun and have bundles of energy. I am keen and ready to go and accept the challenge of being young leader whole heartedly and with an open mind.
I have been a positive role model from young. I have experiences in leadership roles ad Deputy Head Girl, House Leader, School Council Leader, Business and Enterprise Squad Leader and Deputy Sports Captain at the Albany School. I carried out these roles effectively and efficiently to the admiration and respect of my peers and teachers. I have been involved in local politics since 11 years old when my mother was the Civic Mayor of the London Borough of Hackney 2006-2007 and I was her official Consort. Along with my Dad we run free Maths tuition for young people in Havering at Myplace youth centre in Harold Hill. This project, which is the first of its kind in the Borough was launched by the Mayor, Cllr. Lynden Thorpe in August 2012. I’m also a Youth Leader at my church and one of my responsibilities is to organise fund raising events for local charities in Havering. I will be working with 5 Deputies; Peace Ugbeikwu, Mahria Fayyaz, Stacey Button, Nikhita Lester, Alex Kirby and Ryan Fernandes who will assist me in my duties as Young Leader.
- As Havering Young Leader I will hold surgeries for young people and promote a young citizen panel which will be open to any young person who wants to get involved in having a real say and a genuine decision making power within the Borough
- I aim to raise the profile of the young people of Havering and champion their cause effectively
- I will help to develop a link with the Council into the wider communication initiatives which will reflect young people developing interest in the wider community
- I will help the Borough to plan (organise and facilitate) youth conferences with/for young people across the Borough
- Initiate workshops with the police and local young people explaining issues of community safety and how they can contribute to their own safety to promote peaceful co-existence among youths
- I will aim to increase youth participation in politics
- I will be engaged in a project with other young people to produce a Directory of Services which will sign post young people to organisations dealing with a number of their issues such as health, careers, sports and advice.
- I will aim to promote healthy competition in sports and academics amongst schools in the Borough
I’m appealing to young people to vote for me because I have the qualities, the skills and the experience in leadership roles which will help me in fulfilling my role as Havering Young Leader
I’m part of an active collective including; Terrel Wilson, Rebecca Joseph, Fraser White, Andrea Whitaker, Dayane Rodrigues and Ajay Pabial. We dare to challenge current stereotypes and perceptions attached to young people. We don’t believe in figureheads, instead, collaboration. However, we made the exception to allege one individual as lead contact. We know that collective leadership can work within a political model; for example, the Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
We’re culturally diverse, embracing all age groups, genders, nationalities, sexualities and beliefs. We’ve had successful experiences working individually and collectively in our community, projects like The Outback Art House and NICHE.
I believe that the youth today have become passive; our solution to this is by engaging youths to become socially active, creating events and activities. Change is enforced upon us and we don’t react to it. We feel that young people are not listened to. We are taught not to challenge even though we feel it is wrong. As a campaign we want to empower and inspire young people to have a voice. As a collective we want to bring more opportunities to help young people develop basic skills such as confidence, communication, curiosity and independence to help them in all areas of life now and in the future, giving each individual a chance to achieve goals they have set themselves. I am aware that this opportunity is not for our selfish gain, but for the benefit of the youth of today. As a group of creative individuals we believe we can give a fresh new outlook on today’s society, and with our creative backgrounds, develop our campaign in a unique and stimulating way.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will be aware that where I live in Port Talbot we have been creating a community garden, in memory of lives lost at the nearby steel works. Yesterday we were joined for an hour by several members of Swansea’s rugby team, the Ospreys, to shift several tons of topsoil, in order that planting could finally begin. As the work proceeded, the subject of youth volunteering came up, and how – despite the negative press that young people so often get – there are many around the country who are doing a fantastic job of supporting their local communities.
And as if further evidence was needed that youth volunteering is alive and well, here in this part of the UK, I read today about an excellent initiative organised in North Wales, over Easter, by Student Volunteering Bangor (SVB) – part of Bangor University Students’ Union. Eighteen students from the University, joined by two from Aberystwyth University, spent a week living and working at the Felin Uchaf social enterprise near Aberdaron, on the Lleyn Peninsula, where they helped erect a new timber-framed building, destined to house a library, archive and visitor centre. They also participated in land-management tasks such as willow coppicing, dry stone walling and planting, as well as traditional cooking.
For the last nine years the Felin Uchaf charity has been renovating a traditional Welsh farmhouse and its surrounding lands into a community enterprise and visitor centre, where they explore and promote green business initiatives and rural enterprises, and other ways of living in harmony with the environment.
This was the first such event organised by SVB, which was encouraged by the warm welcome the volunteers received at Felin Uchaf, and the team-working experience that the project gave the students, who came from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. It’s always great to hear such examples of how young people are helping to create a harmonious and sustainable future for society, and especially here in Wales. Well done, SVB!
And of course… many thanks to the Ospreys team members for their hard work at the garden, yesterday, despite the slightly adverse weather!
When the summer arrives, most teenagers will be relaxing, enjoying their holidays with mates – especially if they have just come to the end of their high school education. But eighteen-year-old Charlotte Adams from Southend, Essex (UK) will be heading off to India for a month, to work with the charitable trust Emmanuel Ministries Calcutta (EMC) … which for nearly thirty years has been offering rehabilitation services for single parents who live on the streets; setting up and running health centres; and working in orphanages and slums, fighting poverty, malnutrition and illiteracy.
Charlotte, who currently attends Southend High School for Boys, has to raise a total of £2,200 to make the trip. So far she has achieved just over half of this from fundraising and savings out of her part-time tutoring job. Now she has started selling her personal belongings on eBay to raise the extra funds: so far she has sold a significant percentage of her own wardrobe, as well as various other items.
Christian-motivated EMC is inspired by the belief that “each individual has intrinsic value and deserves respect and dignity”. This is something that we believe, too, here at the Chreda Foundation. We also believe that young people have much to offer the world, and it’s great to see this latest example of the kind of selfless activities that so many of them are engaged in. This is exactly the kind of altruism that we will be seeking to encourage when we introduce the Chreda Prize at the end of this year.
Award winners with West Dorset District Council chairwoman Gillian Summers.
Throughout January, and into mid-February, residents of West Dorset were invited to nominate young people and groups from the county who had made a difference to their community by voluntarily giving of their time to help locally. The achievements of the nominees were then honoured a fortnight ago at an event entitled ‘Chairman’s Awards: Young Volunteer Champions’, held at the West Dorset District Council Offices, South Walks House, Dorchester.
The Young Community Champion award, for an individual aged 13-18, went jointly to Jess Element from Dorchester and Jacob Neal from Beaminster. Jess supports local young swimmers, is an active member of numerous swimming groups, clubs and sessions, and now trains and teaches regularly. Jacob cares for his mother and is an adult leader with the Scout Association, where he has been volunteering for the last ten years.
The Senior Young Champion award, for an individual aged 19-25, was won by Freddie Higgs from Cerne Abbas. Freddie is a young adult leader at Cerne Valley Youth Club and Cerne Abbas Scout Group. Freddie took full responsibility for running the club and its fundraising activities when the leader fell ill last year.
The Youth Group Champion award went to Sherborne Skate Park Group, who campaigned for three years to keep their skate park open, while they raised £187,000 in order to replace it with a new modern one.
In presenting the awards Council Chairwoman Gillian Summers said: “I want to congratulate all the people nominated for Young Volunteer Champion awards. We had so many worthy entries. I am delighted to thank these fantastic young people in this way for the help they have given to their community. It is brilliant that so many are prepared to give their time to make a real difference.”
For more information visit www.dorsetforyou.com/young-champion/west-dorset.
Shrievalty Award recipients with High Sheriff Harry Vane, at Durham Castle
At an annual award ceremony in Durham (UK) last week 21 young people were recognised for what the Northern Echo newspaper described as “courageous, selfless and community-spirited actions”. These were the recipients of the Shrievalty Awards, which were presented by the outgoing High Sheriff of County Durham, the Honorable Harry Vane, in the Great Hall of Durham Castle. Individuals and groups were among the award winners, many of whom had “overcome adversity” in order to benefit others within their local communities.
One group of youngsters was responsible for reducing crime on their housing estate – 16-year-old Charnie Lamport, her 12-year-old brother Joshua, and their cousin Callum, also aged 12, came forward as witnesses in a case involving anti-social behaviour of youths, just prior to Guy Fawkes Night, last November. As a result, the perpetrators were arrested and charged with the offences, with the result that the disorder issues on the estate have now been virtually eliminated.
Another group recognised at the event was Darlington’s ‘Signing Stars’, represented on this occasion by three of its members – Hope Harvey, Jodie Fyfe and Elaine White. Signing Stars is a sign language choir from Humersknott Academy, which performs choreographed signing and singing for pensioners’ tea parties and raises money for children’s treatment charities at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
A 17-year-old – Lauren Read – was one of the individual award winners. A sporting enthusiast from Teesdale, she has given more than 700 hours of her own time, inspiring and supporting other young sportsmen and women in Barnard Castle and Bishop Auckland.
VIPs present to encourage and support the award recipients included four former High Sheriffs; the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham, Sue Snowdon; four Chief Constables (two of whom are currently serving); and three Mayors.