The Bucks Youth Summit 2023
On Thursday 23 February 2023, the first ever Bucks Youth Summit took place at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury!
The event was planned and hosted by young people in Buckinghamshire’s county-wide Youth Forum, Youth Voice.
The event invited young people from across the county to share their voice on the biggest issues and areas of interest for young people in Buckinghamshire today.
The event also acted as the launch of Buckinghamshire Council’s Youth Participation Strategy for young people.
The event was a huge success, with 142 students from 16 schools in attendance!
You can see the list of schools that attended on the webpage, Bucks Youth Summit 2023: The Detail.
The Summit’s young attendees arrived at the Waterside Theatre from 9.15am and were each given a brochure for the event.
Once everyone was registered and had found their seats in the auditorium, they were welcomed to the event by young people in the Youth Voice forum and Councillor Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.
For the next few hours, the 142 young attendees joined their chosen 3 of the following 8 conversations:
- Mental Health
- The Queer Space
- A Youth-led conversation on Sexual Violence
- The SEND Space
- The Space for Creative Thinking
- Feeling Safe and Protected
- Spaces and Places for Young People
- Access for Young People in Rural Communities
The conversation spaces were hosted by Youth Voice members, adult professionals from various specialist organisations, and other young facilitators. They took different formats and involved different activities to enable the young attendees to get involved, share their views, and have fun. They were designed so that the ideas and feedback given by the students can be used to make positive change in the future.
After the conversation spaces, the young people had lunch in the auditorium and then explored a marketplace with stalls offering different youth voice projects that they could sign up to.
On their way out, the young people gave lots of reviews and helpful feedback about the event itself.
The Conversation Spaces
You can read about each of the conversation spaces by clicking on the links in the boxes below. Each conversation space has a webpage that describes the format of the space, key messages received, and action that is being taken in response to the young people’s input.
This conversation space explored how nature and the world around us can have an impact on our mental health, and simple steps we can all take to strengthen our mental health.
The Queer Space
LGBTQIA2S+ identity was celebrated in this conversation space as attendees discussed Pride events and positive changes they’d like to see for the community.
Feeling Safe and Protected
This workshop asked attendees to discuss crime and safety issues that matter most to young people, causes of crime and violence, and ideas to prevent crime.
The Space for Creative Thinking
This space captured young people’s experience of creativity and Culture in Bucks, barriers, opportunities, and ideas for a youth arts festival.
The SEND Space
In The SEND Space, young people explored language, media representation and inclusion through creative activities on the main stage.
Youth-led Conversation on Sexual Violence
This conversation focused on how sexual violence affects young people, and what more can be done to address the issue.
Access in Rural Communities
This section listened to young people from villages and other rural areas to find out what should be done to support them to grab every opportunity.
Spaces and Places for Young People
This conversation space was about places where young people are really welcome, and how we can make them the best they can be.
- The young people that attended the Youth Summit were able to choose which conversation spaces they would like to join and explore the event as they wished. Every conversation space was well-attended and engaged with.
- Five year 11 students from Aylesbury Vale Academy acted as a Youth Journalist Team on the day. The team was hosted and managed by Aylesbury Youth Action. The young journalists took photos and interviewed attendees and facilitators, and are now writing up an article about the event for local press. Young people reported feeling more comfortable with the young journalists than they would have felt with adult journalists.
- The hosts, Youth Voice, had included a Quiet Space in the event, so that any young person who felt overwhelmed or uncomfortable could have some time out. The Quiet Space offered music, fidget toys, and supportive adults to talk to.
- Dozens of young people expressed an interest in the various Youth Voice projects that were advertised at the marketplace.
- Young facilitators were present in nearly every conversation space. The young attendees liked talking to other young people and it made the atmosphere friendly.
- One Youth Voice member acted as Attendee Experience Lead on the day. She took part in the day with her school, testing out different conversation spaces, to review the day and provide detailed feedback to the organisers.
Some highlights of the feedback are included below.
Feedback from young attendees
- “A very welcoming and warm environment that made me feel safe and listened to. Every opinion was respected and valued. A very lovely experience, thank you for having us.”
- “I really enjoyed today as I have learnt to express my feelings and thoughts. It was also fun.”
- “The was an amazing experience. Everyone was lovely and I felt safe. It was a great and fun day 😊”
Feedback from school staff
- “Great day, very valuable for staff and students.”
- “Fabulous day. Our students have found it really engaging. They loved the interactive discussions.”
Feedback from adult facilitators
- “I found the day very beneficial to my organisation. It gave the opportunity to reach a younger audience and provided a platform where we could actively listen and engage. The set-up of the day with workshops reduced the size of the groups which allowed facilitators to get the best engagement and allowed for clarifying of feedback by way of two way engagement. The workshops felt very engaging and the ‘voice’ was very much with the youths rather than the speakers. The theatre setting positively impacted the day. It was a less formal setting and provided a great space for engagement. I cannot believe something like this hasn’t been done before and I would certainly hope TVP can be part of it again. On a personal level I found it very rewarding to see so many of our youth (particularly those on stage at the start) that feel able to speak up verbally about issues that are impacting them.” – Police Inspector 5290 Simon Lincoln, Thames Valley Police (Facilitator for Feeling Safe and Protected)
- “Such a special event! Ran super smoothly and all the young people were up for getting stuck in. So many thoughtful and creative contributions to the silent debate wall in the mental health space.” – Natasha, Banardo’s Innovation Hub (Facilitator for Mental Health space)
- “All in all it was a brilliant event. It is a rarity where young people are brought together to have their opinions heard. The freedom to facilitate the session as we wanted but in consultation with [Youth Voice Bucks] worked. It was mutually beneficial – We have additional youth experiences to push our project further, and the Council gets some really insightful thoughts. We want more! Wherever possible, longer, bigger conversations.” – Meg, Leaders Unlocked (Facilitator for a Youth-Led Conversation on Sexual Violence)
You can view all of the feedback on the event on this webpage: Youth Summit 2023: The Detail
The outputs of each conversation are being collated by facilitators. Workstreams are launching to ensure action is taken in response to the young people’s feedback.
The workstreams will be monitored by the Youth Voice forum and young attendees will be kept updated on progress via email and this website.
Due to the event’s huge success, Youth Voice Bucks and the Youth Voice forum plan to make this an annual event! The next Youth Summit will take place on Wednesday 28 February 2024, again at The Waterside Theatre.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas, please contact email@example.com