BYC and UKYP stronger together 14th February 2012



As we approached the first anniversary of the British Youth Councils contract for hosting the UK Youth Parliament, Rosina St James (Vice-Chair) reflects on the collective lobbying power of united youth voices.

The British Youth Council members have again grown this year to a record 180 members, and with the Local Youth Council Network, Young Mayors Network and UK Youth Parliament, represents a very broad coalition of young voices holding decision makers to account. At the launch of UKYP  London Regions first Scrutiny Commission Report at Rich Mix, BYC Vice Chair Rosina likened BYC and UKYP to Google and Youtube – two giants whose combined pulling power makes your eyes water – and shared her vision for an alliance that can really make a difference.

Rosina’s Speech to London UKYP

“Google is the biggest search engine in the world, connecting millions of people with information. YouTube however, is a consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos worldwide through a Web experience. These were two great separate companies that have different functions and different followers in their own right. So when Google acquired YouTube and the vision of ‘increasing access of information’ unified into one overall goal; this allowed them to become a bigger and better force of power and influence.

As I look around the room now, I see some confused faces, probably wondering why I decided to tell you about Google and YouTube at a UK Youth Parliament event. Well if we simply replace Google with the British Youth Council and You Tube with UK Youth Parliament we draw some parallel between them. As two separate entities again they are both brilliant and credible sources taking nothing from each other. They both use different avenues to access young people and to get their voices heard but when they both became one that’s when I believe the magic really happened. The vision of, campaigning, empowering and inspiring young people to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives has now become stronger – a force that many parliamentarian would be scared of. Their association actually benefits one another as you are able to access them easier. Reports like this, (UKYP London Region Scrutiny Commission) is a classic example of clear, coherent collaboration and unity of youth voice across London.

From reading the report, I found a good acronym that I hope will help us through today and as luck would have it, the word was in the title of the report and one of the main reasons why we are here today.

It is “YOUTH”:

Y is for youth-led action, encouraging young people to be active in improving youth services and youth activities. It allows them to feel empowered whilst giving them the O – for Opportunity to reach their full potential, the opportunity to create change in their lives, their peers lives and new generations to come. Providing positive activities and career opportunities which will allow them to develop their U – for Unique qualities and talents they have inside of them providing clear positive mentors, societal role models and leaders. To help nurture and develop these virtues. This will then help to build up the T for Trust – with different agencies of support like the police, youth workers, heads of services. Young people need to be trusted to express their views and recommendation such as the ones made by this report. Trust also comes in the form of allowing us to use different ways of connecting with other young people through twitter and Facebook.  Lastly, H is for Help – and not hindrance. Young people can help society and organisations must find ways to help each other and share best practice so that information becomes accessible for young people.

It’s a great personal honour for me to be here being able to watch some of my young people from Croydon continue to make me proud and champion young people’s views.   

So, In closing I would like to leave you with a quote from Calvin Coolidge that has been slightly edited by me: its reads…

“The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential. But I say:  

“The most common commodity in this country is unrealized potential in our young people,”

I would like to thank you all for inviting me I hope you enjoy the rest of the day.