On Monday 19th February, Blackpool Youth Council held their annual Youth Summit at Blackpool and Fylde College University Centre before an audience of over 50 people, including young people and adults who have a vested interest in young peoples’ issues. The audience had the opportunity to gain an insight into the top 3 issues for young people in Blackpool, as determined by the recent Make Your Mark ballot in late 2017. Audience members then took part in a question and answer panel session where questions relating to Mental Health, A Curriculum to Prepare Us for Life and Work Experience Hubs for 11-18 year olds.

The panel consisted of: Baroness Jo Valentine (Business in the Community), Harry Bates MYP (Member of Youth Parliament for Blackpool), Linda Markey (Director, URPotential), David Eaton (Service Manager, CAMHS Blackpool), Pauline Wigglesworth (Programme Lead, HeadStart Blackpool), Graham Cowley (Chair, Blackpool Opportunity Area).

The discussions on Mental Health focused on the current provision of services available for young people and what organisations like CAHMS and HeadStart are doing in order to expand and improve the services available despite a funding shortfall.

A Curriculum to Prepare Us for Life had discussions that acknowledged major issues in the current PSHE policies of Blackpool’s schools and how young people require a broader education on progressing to the world of adulthood.

The Work Experience Hubs discussions focused on the ongoing work between the Blackpool Opportunity Area, URPotential, Baroness Jo Valentine (Business in the Community) and Blackpool’s schools to establish a strong network of work experience contacts and placements for Blackpool’s secondary school students, enabling students to access a broader range of opportunities. The need for useful and insightful work experience was also mentioned on multiple occasions, highlighting a lack of quality work experience in some areas.

From this event, Blackpool Youth Council rebranded with a new identity (formerly Blackpool Youth Voice) and hopes that the forthcoming year will be one of successes where the issues young people have raised can be acted upon.

It was great to see a great turnout overall and amazing seeing that our group has backing from substantial areas of the community. It was a productive night and we thank everyone who came to show their support.

If you would like to get involved in Blackpool Youth Council, please contact April at URPotential. 01253 344398, april@urpotential.co.uk