Youth Voice at the BMKALC conference 2023
The Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Association of Local Councils (BMKALC) is an organisation that supports Town, Parish, and Community Councils throughout Buckinghamshire, including Milton Keynes. They host conferences that bring councillors and staff from Town, Parish, and Community Councils together, to share information, good practice, and skills.
In 2023, BMKALC invited Youth Council representatives to their conference for the first time. Through Youth Voice Bucks and Milton Keynes Youth Council, nine young people attended as representatives for youth councils.
Not only did the young people get involved in the event as attendees, they also gave a 30 minute keynote speech, hosted an information stall, and had a representative on a question panel, all to promote youth voice, leadership, and empowerment!
The young people dived into the conference, attending talks, networking with organisations through the stalls, and participating in workshops. The highlight of the day was the young people’s keynote speech, which energised everybody in the room, sparked lots of questions, and got everyone excited about launching new youth voice projects in their areas.
How did we listen, act and respond?
BMKALC made sure young people’s voices could be heard at their importance conference event by reaching out to Youth Voice Bucks and Milton Keynes Youth Council. They provided the young people with an excellent platform to share their experiences, ideas, and key messages.
The conference organisers and adult facilitators for Youth Voice Executive Committee and Milton Keynes Youth Council followed through on their commitment to involve young people by hosting preparation sessions and providing the young people with top tips in public speaking.
The preparation sessions gave the young people a chance to meet each other, see the event venue, and work on their keynote speech and stall arrangements. They gave the young people the chance to develop their ideas, skills and resources, so that they could take part to their full potential.
On the day, the adult facilitators from the Youth Voice Executive Committee and Milton Keynes Youth Council supported the young people to get to the event and ensured everyone felt comfortable and safe.
The young people received a big round of applause after their speech and panel section! The organisers also made sure to thank the young people for their involvement.
Now, it is up to the Town, Parish and Community Councils who attended to act on what the young people said!
Quotes from our young attendees:
“It was a great experience to be on a panel and get to be part of a wider Council activity that is normally just for adults.
It was great that we were able to bring a young people’s – and a fresh -perspective. I hope we challenged some views and that the attendees took something away from it that they might not have otherwise thought of.”
– Young person DT from Youth Voice Bucks
“It felt amazing to be given the opportunity to have our voices heard and be respected by everyone”
– Young person PH from Youth Voice Bucks
Quote from a parent of one of the young people that took part:
“Thanks for all your hard work and support for these initiatives but more importantly for excellent opportunities for [young person S] to gain more exposure, learn and contribute.”
Interested in getting involved?
The next BMKALC conference won’t be until 2025, but the youth councils hope to be invited again!
If you are a young person interested in getting involved in this kind of project, or an adult who would like to involve young people in their event, please get in touch!