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02 November 2015

Monday 2 November 2015

This year's National Youth Work Week will run from 2-8 November 2015 and is organised by the National Youth Agency (NYA). The theme is Have Your Voice Heard and at London Youth we plan to celebrate this by sharing some of the ways we support young people and our members to do just that!

First up, Dare London – our youth advisory board made up of young people from across the London Youth network.

Dare London gives young people the opportunity to be heard. To be given responsibility to share their thoughts and opinions with people who can make a real difference. Dare London helps young people develop into a strong and confident next generation who will be prepared for the challenges and opportunities they may face in the future.

To kick off the new Dare London year, we headed to Hindleap Warren from Friday 30 October to Sunday 1 November 2015, for a weekend full of challenges both in the forest and at the centre, where young people got to know each other better and develop their skills as a team.

The residential is a chance to empower and inspire our Dare Londoners. Sessions run by Chief Executive, Rosie Ferguson and Director of Programmes, Phil Kerry have given them knowledge to make informative discussions over the next year. With both a breakdown of London Youth and the powers in London, these young people can now take a proactive step towards making the change that they want to happen.

Youth board members hold up signs saying 'Our mission is to support and challenge young people to become the best they can be."

Dare Londoners have not only challenged each other but they’ve also challenged themselves. Climbing to new heights and navigating the 300-acres of Ashdown Forest where Hindleap resides, delivering games to their peers, and making a video tour of the centre. Our Dare Londoners have all pushed themselves out of their comfort zones.

Dare London offers opportunities to young people that they may not have been given elsewhere. A focus on "inclusivity" means the youth board created is diverse in many ways:

  • the group ranges from 16-24 year olds
  • they are all a part of youth clubs that are affiliated to London Youth or have been part of one of our broader opportunities
  • individuals come from a range of religions, faiths and cultures
  • and, Dare Londoners all have a variety of backgrounds and ablities

This diversity is fundamental to ensuring that the youth board is representative of the London Youth network and can act as the true voice of young people living and learning across the capital, specifically those beyond the usual suspects.

As an organisation, we strive to understand what Dare Londoners want and need – literally hearing their voices. This information will give us ideas on how to involve the generation of today in the decisions of tomorrow. We can use the participation of young people in several ways. One opportunity these young people support us with is during the Quality Mark assessment process. Young Assessors enables us to measure how youth clubs are running, through the eyes of young people. The insight this gives us is invaluable, they will see things our staff could miss and enables young people who attend the club every day to have more of a say in whether a youth club should achieve the Gold level. Young people engaging with other young people will give us information we wouldn't normally have access to. 

At the end of last weekend's residential, one Dare Londoner commented: “I’ve learnt our group works”. Now let's see what the remainder of the year has in store!

To keep up with what Dare London gets up to over the next year, keep an eye on the London Youth website and #DareLondon on twitter.