One key purpose of the Youth Advisory Board is to facilitate young people's participation in decisions and services that affect them. Those young people who participate in the YAB are known as young commissioners who listen to their peers and advocate on their behalf.
Over the last few weeks, Young Commissioners in the Norwich area have been working tirelessly to engage with their local representatives, to discuss topical issues affecting young people, such as votes at 16.
They were offered an opportunity to engage with their local MP, Clive Lewis to discuss this. They wanted to open this experience up to young people, so decided to film an interview with Clive Lewis and realise it on social media, in the hope it would encourage more people their age to speak out, take notice and affect change.
As a result of this, Clive Lewis approached the young commissioners to write him a speech on why they support votes at 16 which will, when given the time to, be read out by Clive Lewis in parliament. This is hugely important as it shows MPs are willing to speak up for young people, that they are deserving of the same platforms and their voices are equally important to ‘adults’ and professionals.
Similarly on the matter of leaving the EU, Norwich young commissioners identified the lack of consultation on Brexit for young people, despite being the age group to be most affected by it. They approached both Chloe Smith MP and Clive Lewis MP to support a young peoples Brexit forum event, creating a space for young people to have their say, and to be listened to by their local representatives, whatever their views and whatever their politics.
As Young Commissioners, their job is not just to promote the campaigns or the politics that they agree with, but to engage in all sides of the debate, ask the difficult questions and represent all young people in their community; these are the characteristics which make them such successful advocates and representatives.