Youth participation central to plans of new BYC chair

Neil Puffett
Friday, September 7, 2012

The new chair of the British Youth Council (BYC) has pledged to concentrate on ploughing ahead with plans to further involve young people in shaping services.

Rosina St James replaces outgoing BYC chair Liam Preston. Image: BYC
Rosina St James replaces outgoing BYC chair Liam Preston. Image: BYC

Rosina St James, 21, was elected as chair of the organisation at the charity’s annual council meeting last weekend. She told CYP Now her priority will be to continue to push for a stronger voice for young people in shaping local and national policies affecting them.

“BYC needs to continue to get young people’s voices heard by decision makers and government and make sure we are not put to one side,” she said. “There is a danger that with the cuts, our voices get lost – we need to push our youth participation agenda and get that on the books.

“Young people have so many great ideas and policies that contain so much but if you are not listened to, the opportunity is lost.”

Her appointment coincides with the government's reshuffle and the departure of Tim Loughton, who was the minister for youth services at the Department for Education. Which of three new ministers will take on the brief is yet to be announced.

“Tim Loughton was always willing to listen, even at times when he may not have agreed with what we were saying,” St James said. “He had young people’s participation at the forefront of his mind.

“He is a great loss but we have to look forward and embed youth participation into the fabric of government.”

St James replaces outgoing chair Liam Preston. She will be joined on the board of the council by newly elected officers Dan Derricott as vice chair of finance and Carly Walker-Dawson as vice chair of participation and development, alongside Dara Farrell who was re-elected as vice chair of campaigns and communications.

During last weekend’s annual meeting of the council, delegates debated and voted on what should be included in the BYC manifesto for 2012-14.

Restoring face-to-face careers advice, supporting equal marriage, better access to training for young people and stopping the privatisation of the police were all selected as priorities for the year ahead.


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