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The Young Advisors team headed out to Birmingham on the 14th of June to attend a ThinkBig get together organised by 02 think big - one of the organisation's primary funders. The aim of the event was to get like minded young people running organisations and charities to discuss ideas and hopefully learn from each other to improve their services and increase the youth voice.
The event involved several icebreakers, a short presentation from each organisation and then some leadership training. Although much of this was simple and repetitive, it was a huge success and there was a lot to be learned from other young people from across the Midlands. From a charity for young autistic people to a youth radio station, the vast range of organisations really helped the Young Advisors and myself personally to get an overview of what young people want and how varied their wants can be. This is beneficially when working with organisations providing services for young people as the target audience, albeit young people, will always have a different angle. The event also focused on making things as digital as possible, from increasing email usage to unlocking the power of social media, something the Young Advisors wholly subscribe to as the best way of spreading the #youthvoice.
All in all, it is fair to say that this event was a success and very beneficial to the Young Advisors who were involved and it will definitely help us to provide a better and more thorough service in the future.
Young Advisors, the national charity, are going through a new phase, a rebirth you could call it and we here at YAL are excited about this. This brand new website is just the start of a refreshed organisation ready to fuel social action and change.
It's been all systems go in the YAL offices and we're excited to be launching this new website with our new logo and our new team of highly trained and experienced young people. We have a number of commissions in the pipeline and I hope more and more people will start to use our services because young people need a professional voice in Leicester and in partnership with the Young People's Council, we can really shape Leicester to be as youth-friendly as possible and be a beacon for other cities around the country to shop how young people can really influence decision makers.
I would urge anybody who is wanting youth-proofing, mystery shopping or any other of our wonderful services to not wait and get in touch as soon as possible to ensure services are targeting young people correctly and that they are working for young people. We know that UHL, following our commission last year have applied for some money to put our suggestions into action and it is exactly things like this that make our work worthwhile.
Mystery shopping from sector-to-sector continues to build our team with skills and experiences that allow us to execute any efficiently. It involves liaising with a large number of different people to ensure the facilities and services provided by the organisation follow the set regulations and rules, as well as being young-people friendly.
The mystery shop that we completed was at a youth centre. We were in role as young people wanting to join a new youth centre, however in fact had to inspect the club and all of the procedures that were completed. This was exciting for us as it was completely new and interesting. We got the opportunity to have an insight into something which we hadn’t tried before, with an understanding of how the services should be given.
Personally we've found that it has shown us more about how services should and should not be provided, which now let us give more detailed and informative feedback after an inspection for an even better service provided. Overall, it was an eye-opener. A place in which many young people felt the comfort, safety and family environment that provided a blanket of security. The importance of the place was only realised after we went around talking to the regular members.
Ashini Shah & Jemini Barchha