Between Friday 26th– Sunday 28thApril Blackpool Youth Council (BYC) members attended the Youthforia (YOFO) residential at Brathay Hall, Ambleside. Youthforia is the North West Youth Forum which involves young people who are part of youth councils from all 23 North West local authorities and all Members of the UK Youth Parliament. YOFO hold different residentials and events throughout the year to get young people across the North West together to share and discuss different ideas to help get young people’s voices heard.

The residential was for young people from across the North West coming together for a weekend of various workshops, discussions and debates. The first full day involved choosing which sessions the young people wanted to engage in, which included sessions such as ‘how best to communicate and work with young people on the autistic spectrum’, ‘working with and influencing decision makers’, ‘working with leaders in education to maximize engagement’ and ‘reducing your carbon footprint’ The afternoon sessions consisted of activities, such as canoeing, orienteering, ropes, banner making/art and creative talent, which were rehearsals for the awards ceremony which was to be held later on that evening. The Youth Focus North West Young Citizens Awards Ceremony took place in the evening where their groups, young people and workers were all nominated. Afterwards, there was a silent disco, which the young people enjoyed and everyone could get involved, as the young people could choose different types of music they wanted to listen to, and was inclusive as some people didn’t like the loud music playing, so they could still attend and chose the volume as well as the music so they would still enjoy themselves.

On the Sunday, the groups were split into different areas of the North West (BYC were in the Lancashire and Cumbria area group) and discussed what each of their council’s had been up to and what they had planned for the year, which was interesting to share different ideas and get any tips for what the group could get involved with or do in the future. The last part of the weekend was a big debate which was based around if the young people thought it was right to interrupt people’s day-to-day life because of campaigning and protesting against different causes, such as climate change. Which was a great session to hear different people’s views on the topic.

The YOFO residential is always a great event for the young people to get involved with and attend as it’s a great source of getting new ideas from other Youth Councils in the North West, and builds their confidence by them meeting and talking to new people.

The next YOFO event is a 1 day event on the 22ndJune at Edge Hill University, where members of BYC will attend to share ideas with other Youth Councils once again.

Bethany, one of the members of BYC who attended the residential, said;

I believe that the weekend was amazing, I learnt so much from so many different people and heard many views that I may not have thought about before. It inspired me to change things in my local area for the better. I believe that everyone can have their voices heard if they just try hard enough.’