The Opportunity Area (OA) has funded a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) in both Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. Both YABs are managed by 20Twenty Productions.
Each YAB involves young people aged 13–24 representing other young people across their district. They meet at least once a month to discuss issues that are important to them. The young people collect feedback on different ideas and issues through student surveys available to all pupils attending local mainstream secondary schools. The YAB is always welcoming new members please find the links at the bottom of the page.
Back in 2019, the YAB did their first consultation with young people in Fenland secondary schools. From this consultation, it was identified that mental health was one of the top issues for young people in Fenland. After this was identified, the YAB started to discuss what they could do to support mental health.
The YAB came up with the idea of producing a “Mental Health Booklet” to roll out into schools. The YAB then found an organisation called The Young People’s Counselling Service (YPCS) and commissioned them to help develop this booklet.
The YAB has spent the last two years developing this resource with YPCS while consulting with focus groups of young people to make sure it is what young people want. The focus groups looked at all aspects of the booklet from the activities to design. The booklet is now known as the “Wellbeing Journal”. This consists of a journal and some wellbeing playing cards, including:
- Mood Tracker
- Worry Box
- Wellbeing Bingo
- Breathing Exercises
As well as these recourses, schools will be offered a Wellbeing Mentor programme which was another idea from the YAB. This programme involves training one young person in each form group to deliver a wellbeing activity once a month to their form. They will receive a day of training with YPCS and then deliver the activities.
Currently (January 2022), we are going to pilot all of this work with two secondary schools in Fenland and two secondary schools in East Cambs.
Over the last couple of years the YABs have supported a number of other projects and initiatives, including:
- Food poverty initiatives
- A YAB conference
- Grub Gowers
- The Community Fridge
- Pizza Kits
- Electronic devices for students who needed them during lockdown
- Craft kits for children
- Mental health kits
Youth Advisory Boards Question Time event success
The Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Youth Advisory Board’s (YAB) Question Time event held at Cromwell Community College was a great success. Young people were able to quiz politicians, including Mayor Dr Nick Taylor, South East Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer, Cllr Ruth Hufton, Cllr Lorna Dupre and Darryl Preston Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner about a variety of current issues.
The Youth Advisory Boards are always keen to welcome new members to find out more visit their websites Fenland Youth Advisory Board or East Cambs Youth Advisory Board or contact Max via Max@20twentyproductions.co.uk to discuss getting involved.
See Jack’s write up of this superb event below. A huge thank you to all involved who organised and delivered such a professional well attended event Hi!
I’m Jack, I’m 17 years old and I am the Chair for Democracy of the Fenland Youth Advisory Board (YAB). The YAB is a collective of young people and professionals funded by the Opportunity Area (OA) who help to tackle issues that affect young people in the district. Through consultation and conversation, YAB discovers these challenges to young people and then commission organisations and groups to address them.
In my role as Chair for Democracy, I work to get local politicians to engage with the YAB to help us with our goals and also educate young people on our political system and how they can engage with it. This was done in the ‘Question Time’ event held on 4th November, where young people could ask questions to local politicians from Fenland and East Cambs.
This event was planned by The Fenland and East Cambs Youth Advisory Boards.
On the panel, we had Mayor of Cambridgeshire Dr. Nik Johnson, Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston, County and District Councillor Lorna Dupré, Leader of Doddington Parish Council Ruth Hufton, and MP for South East Cambridgeshire Lucy Frazer.
I was really nervous at first when I started hosting but once I got into it my confidence grew and began to build up a rapport with the panel. It was really great to see some of our local politicians showing their passion for the local area to young people who sometimes feel quite disillusioned with politics and feel that politicians do not care for them. It was also really useful to see what young people in the area cared about, from green spaces to transport to minority inclusion. These are passions I will keep in mind for the future, as a Chair of the Fenland Youth Advisory board.
More information and contact:
For more information about the Youth Advisory Boards and how to get involved, contact Max@20twentyproductions.co.uk.