fbpx At London Youth, my opinion matters - London Youth

08 March 2024

This International Women’s Day, we share a blog from Elizabeth, one of our Youth Board members. It’s a story of a young woman feeling empowered, heard and excited about her future.  

At London Youth, my opinion matters. When we’re asked questions, people take it seriously. I do also feel I know how to be part of wider decision making in London. Through the Youth Board, I have a better idea of how to get my voice heard. 

My involvement with London Youth started because I did work experience at Rathbone – the youth club. I was working alongside Charline, who is a trustee at London Youth, and she suggested I apply for the Youth Board. 

Since joining, I’ve done so much. I attended an event when London Youth’s Patron, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, invited London Youth supporters and staff to Buckingham Palace for a reception. I joined an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs at Portcullis House about the cost-of-living crisis with other young people. I also spoke at London Youth’s Annual General Meeting. It was my first experience of public speaking, but now I know I can do something like that again.  


Meeting inspirational women 

I’ve met lots of inspiring women since joining the Youth Board, such as Marina Ahmad who is the London Assembly Member for Lambeth and Southwark.  

I also went to a BETT event at the Royal Society about improving education. It was just me and two other people from the Youth Board and there was a lot of very important people. There was a woman there who was education minister to the President of Ukraine. Being in an environment like that shows that you can do things, that young people can be heard, and a lot of politicians do want to hear from young people. 


Feeling empowered 

I used to get a bit nervous when speaking thinking that people wouldn’t like, or criticise, what I was going to say, and not take it on board. Whereas at London Youth, it’s all about youth being empowered and young people having a voice and realising you’ve got a good point. 

It’s not just about the opportunities. I think it’s also about London Youth, because Youth Board meetings are catered around us, what things have happened to us or things we’ve heard about, and about how London Youth can change those things.  


I always wanted to go to a youth club 

In some boroughs there are youth clubs, but it’s just not enough. I live in a borough where there are literally no youth clubs. Young people don’t have anywhere to go. It’s like you go home, or you go to McDonald’s. Youth clubs are so important because they offer a place to go and a safe space that isn’t school. They’re a place you can go and socialise without having to go to a park in the middle of the night.  

You can’t solve the cost-of-living crisis by going to a youth club, but it can take a lot of pressure off families. And it can deter people from joining gangs or from needing to turn to gangs, which I think is obviously a really pressing issue. 


Making a change 

Not everyone in London can be on a youth board. This is why being a London Youth Youth Board member is important, because it helps represent other people’s views and other people’s experiences. Everyone on the Youth Board is from a completely different area, different background, different culture, with different experiences. It’s really eye opening because something I’ve experienced might be completely different from someone else’s experience. It’s incredible to hear everyone’s stories. 

I’d like to go to university, and I think I want to study politics. I hear things at London Youth that I can talk about when I am studying politics at school. I don’t think I necessarily want to be a politician, it’s too much stress. But I like the idea of helping people and making a change. Even if it’s a little change. Just something to help somebody. Because I think London Youth helps so many people, it inspires me to do something beneficial to other people. 


Join our Youth Board! 

Want to make a real difference? Be the voice of your generation. We’re looking for young champions from London Youth Membership Network to join our current Youth Board members in helping shape how we work with young Londoners and improve services. 

Learn more about our Youth Board and apply 


Elizabeth Sawyer, Youth Board Member 


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