Youth Voice Bucks spotlight: Tom

The answers to the questions in this article have been provided by a young adult called Tom.

photo of young person


Hi, I’m Tom Shimony. I have just turned 22. I was born in Stoke Mandeville and now I live in Aylesbury by the prison.

I found my way into Youth Voice via Action 4 Youth’s NCS Youth Board.

Since being in Youth Voice, I have worked as a cover teacher for 2 years, spent 19 months travelling, and now I am aspiring to a career in the Police.

Please tell me about the youth voice project(s) you have been involved in.

I chaired the Youth Voice Executive Committee in 2018 and 2019, while I was in year 13 at school. I was introduced to it through Action 4 Youth’s Youth Board for the National Citizenship Service (NCS).

Alongside our Youth Voice Executive Committee meetings, I got involved in various projects, including Youth Interview panels, Heart of Bucks grant panels, and presenting at Full Council.

I was also Head Boy of House at my school, which helped me learn to form and voice my opinions.


What have been your favourite elements of being involved?

I really enjoyed our Youth Voice Executive Committee meetings. Having senior managers and leaders come to our meeting was always great, and being Chair was such an interesting experience – telling adults to stop talking (to keep to your meeting schedule) is bizarre!

Feeling like you’re making a difference is the main thing.


How has being involved in youth voice projects been valuable to you?

Confidence. I’ve always been fairly confident and outgoing, but the Youth Voice projects I took part in put me in a different setting. Youth Voice Executive Committee gives you experience that you wouldn’t normally get at that age, and it’s good to be working with adults at a time when you’re transitioning into the adult world. It’s a good environment and relationship to have. I learnt new things too – like how Councils work, how governing works.

All of the experience I gained is really valuable and important to me.


Do you feel that professionals involved in the youth voice projects you took part in listened to you, acted on your views, and responded to you on what difference your contributions made?

Yes, they did.

This is inherent in the way Youth Voice Executive Committee is run; so long as the young people are the driving force, we see the results.
I can’t remember a time when we asked for something that didn’t pan out.

What would you say to a young person who is considering getting involved in a youth voice project?

Do it! You can make a difference and grow.

It’s a phenomenal experience. You learn a lot about yourself and others.
I met so many people through Youth Voice Executive Committee and the other boards I was involved in who came from different walks of life from my own, who I wouldn’t have otherwise have had the opportunity to interact with.

Plus it looks good on the CV which is never a bad thing!


What would you say to professionals who are considering incorporating youth voice into their projects?

Again – do it! If what you’re doing focuses on / targets young people, you need to know how young people will respond to your ideas and approaches.

And, by getting young people involved in what you’re doing, you’ll be giving them experience and lessons that will benefit them in the future.

It will help you as a professional, and it will help young people too.


Anything else to say?

Do it! It was a really good experience. I enjoyed it.

As long as everyone involved gives their time and effort, they will get something out of it.

Feeling inspired?

If you are interested in getting involved in projects like Tom did, consider joining our Youth Voice forum!

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