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YB for Communities: Reflections from Edel Ryder & Sayra Tasnim

Delving into the latest developments in YouthBank England

Greetings, everyone!

I'm absolutely delighted to share with you some insights from my role as Project Manager with the newly formed CIC, YB for Communities, supporting the YouthBank network in England. Thanks to the generous funding from the Dulverton Trust, I embarked on this adventure in December 2022. It has been an absolute joy to support and witness the establishment of new YouthBanks, bringing opportunities and positive change to young people in various areas across England.

Where my YB journey began

I have been actively engaged in YouthBank for the past 20 years, assuming various roles that have provided me with a comprehensive understanding of the program. It began with my involvement as a youth worker during the pilot project in Ireland. Subsequently, I worked as a development officer across the entire island, which allowed me to gain a unique perspective on YouthBank at both grassroots and organisational levels. I had the privilege and honour of travelling internationally with YouthBank, witnessing the program's adaptability across different cultures.

I take immense pride in my long-standing involvement with YouthBank, particularly in witnessing the program's remarkable ability to adapt to the needs of youth workers and young people in this digital age.

Nurturing Youth Workers to support young grant-makers

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my role has been assisting new YouthBanks in their setup process. Collaborating with project leads and youth workers from diverse backgrounds has been truly rewarding. The passion and dedication they bring to the table is inspiring. Together, we have developed strategies to address challenges, and provided essential training to ensure the success of each YouthBank.

A recent YouthBank practitioners event hosted by the Manchester City Council at the city library was a humbling experience for me. Listening to the YouthBank practitioners share their stories of how engaged their young people have been with the program filled me with immense pride and hope for young people. Hearing about the wide array of agendas for change that the YouthBanks have developed across various sites left me inspired about the transformative power of their work. YouthBank members are already embracing their agency, contributing to society, and becoming catalysts for positive change. I am looking forward to hearing about all the projects they will soon go on to fund in their communities and I am in no doubt of the difference they will make to a wider cohort of young people.

What’s next?

Looking ahead, I am eagerly anticipating the first young grant-makers retreat, scheduled to take place near Manchester this September. This event will be a fantastic opportunity for young people from different YouthBanks to come together, share their experiences, and celebrate their achievements. It will serve as a platform for exchanging ideas and forging new connections across communities that will strengthen the YouthBank network even further. The event promises to be an inspiring and fun gathering, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among the young grant-makers. We are hoping we will be joined by a number of young people from YouthBanks in the wider International network as well as colleagues and board members from YouthBank International. Watch this space!

Gratitude

I feel incredibly fortunate to be working alongside a dedicated and passionate volunteer team from YB for Communities which has been set up to help foster an expanding network of YouthBanks in this country for the benefit of young people wherever they are and whatever their circumstances. And it is a privilege to work with the partnering host organisations whose unwavering commitment to the vision of rolling out YouthBanks across England and Wales is what keeps the show on the road! Their expertise, support, and enthusiasm have played a vital role in making our collective efforts a success. Together, we strive to create an environment where young people can thrive, grow, and make a positive difference in their communities. As I continue in this role, I would like to express my gratitude to the Dulverton Trust. It is through their generous funding and support that this level of connection, collaboration, and networking has become possible. Their belief in the potential of young people and the YouthBank movement is truly commendable. I am excited to continue to work with both existing and emerging YouthBanks, nurturing their growth, and amplifying their impact. Witnessing the enthusiasm, creativity, and determination of young people in making a positive difference reaffirms my belief in the power of youth-led initiatives. Together, we are creating a future where young individuals are empowered to shape their communities and become leaders of change.

By Edel Ryder



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