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Empowering Youth and Creating Change: Insights from YouthBank Practitioners across England

Greetings, I am Sayra Tasnim, proud co-founder of YB for Communities. Amidst juggling college, family, work, and volunteering, opportunities to personally connect with the YouthBanks are rare for me. However, I recently attended a networking event for YouthBanks in England hosted by the Manchester City Council at the beautiful Central Library. It served as a space where passionate youth workers converged, fostering an environment of knowledge exchange. The event provided me with an invaluable chance to directly witness the remarkable impact young grant-makers from diverse communities are making. I also had the privilege to actively engage in a captivating idea generation workshop facilitated by Edel, which made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Who came along?

Represented at the event were supporting staff from Manchester City Council, practitioners from hosting organisations of YouthBanks in Rushford Park, Nurturing Foundations, Youth on Solid Ground, YPAC, and from Alder Hey Liverpool and joining us online amidst some technical challenges practitioners from MAP in Cromer & Thorpe in Norfolk. Alongside dedicated host organisations we were joined by Helen Kersley from YB for Communities & Peter Little from YouthBank International.

What the practitioners had to say..

Across the majority of the newly established YouthBanks they have successfully reached the stage where their young grant-makers have conducted mapping exercises in their communities and have chosen their “agendas for change” or in other words the priorities they want to award grants to in their areas.

Some of the YouthBanks have mutual agendas particularly in the area of environment & pollution. While more specific agendas include combating poverty, homelessness, lack of activities/ facilities for young people, safe spaces, youth violence, revival of old skills and mindfulness. In the 2 YouthBank sites in Norfolk a very specific area young people want to focus on is vaping and the dangers it poses to young people and the environment.

Getting to this stage of the YouthBank process did not come without its challenges with many of the practitioners sharing with each other some roadblocks relating to pressures on young people around exam time and the impact on their attendance and motivation.

However through fostering group synergy & building confidence during the team building phase it ensured that young people remained engaged and committed to taking ownership of their YouthBank. Practitioners cited that young people helped each other progress forward and many came to extended sessions to make up time showcasing their dedication and passion.

It is clear to me that the YouthBank practitioners and host organisations are all working hard to empower their young grant-makers and doing an amazing job at providing them with opportunities for growth and engagement, and nurturing a sense of collective responsibility.

Like Edel, I too look forward to hearing all about the projects they fund and the lasting impact they will make.

By Sayra Tasnim

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