Tue, Aug 15, 2023
Read in 5 minutes
A summary of what I did in July. A bit late, but better late than never!
Let’s start at the start of the month, with YouthCon London. It was an event where like minded young people can get together from across London, South East and the East of England. 150 young people in total attended the event, where we had workshops (one run by me), a panel debate and networking.
After a fiasco on the tube, we started the day with a well rehearsed introduction by the Steering Group members for the three regions, where we went through the plan for the day. Then, we went into the first workshop for the day, which was supposed to be run by Barclays LifeSkills. All the MYPs who attended were together, and to be brutally honest, the session was uninteresting, so we ended up having a debate on the Titanic Submersible (who knows if that’s still in the news when this comes out?)
We then, after lunch, had a panel debate. We had Billy Beckett, Deputy Chair of Kensington Labour Party, Laura Burns, Conservative Councillor for Chelsea Riverside, and a representative from the Liberal Democrat party. Again, not the most interesting panel, however we certainly had interesting discussions, mostly surrounding schools and Free School Meals.
After the panel, we then had the final workshop of the day, which was about Local Campaigns, and the Free School Meal Campaigns. I led a group of 14 young people, where we debated, discussed and spoke about our local campaigns, including Knife Crime, the Environment, Domestic Abuse and much more. We also had a ‘Forum Theatre’, where the young people debated about Free School meals. It was hard to find opposition!
I enjoyed the event mostly, however aspects of it could be changed.
Just a few days after that, I had a meeting with my colleagues in the Social Action Group and Steering Group, about the Annual Conference in Leeds (later in the month). We discussed the local sessions, local showcases, the agenda, and longlisting the topics that we would debate during the conference, with the top 5 voted for at the conference being the 5 topics debated without Bill in the House of Commons in November! It was overall a great meeting, with very interesting discussions!
The UKYPs current priority campaign is Universal Free School Meals, and as part of this campaign, MYPs are encouraged to meet with their MPs in their schools/colleges over a school lunch to discuss the matter. Unfortunately, in Surrey, we were unable to do this, however we are meeting with several of the MPs in the county. One of these is Michael Gove, the MP for Surrey Heath, and also the Secretary of State for Levelling Up.
The main thing that we spoke about was Free School Meals, where Michael supports an expansion of them to all Primary School children, and further to all pupils in the country.
We also spoke about some of the local campaigns I am part of, as well as the Surrey Heath Youth Council - I have written about that towards the end.
Overall, we had a very productive meeting, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him in person. I hope that we can meet again soon!
I also attended a conference in my capacity as a member of the RYCA South East. It was held in Winchester and I attended alongside my colleagues and friends from Hampshire Youth Parliament. It was a really productive day, with an amazing recycled fashion show, sessions on stewardship and a plastic-free society, and I even spoke!
I’d like to thank the HYP team for being so welcoming and kind, and Vicky for the invite!
Each year, as the Summer Approaches, the Surrey Heath Youth Council has an annual team building event. Historically, we have had a residential where we complete our elections, have our AGM and hold several team-building events, however due to funding challenges we have had to scale back. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun! Instead, we had a session at Thorpe Lakes aqua-park. It’s great to have this team-building, and I’m really proud of the progress that the group has had this year.
Each year, the UK Youth Parliament hold their Annual Conference. This is an opportunity for MYPs from across the country to come together and discuss the big issues for young people. This year, it was held at the University for Leeds, and was held over a weekend. There were over 250 Young People in attendance!
We discussed the current priority campaign for the UKYP, Food for Learning, and we debated on the 5 topics of our bill! These are:
This bill will be debated in the Commons in November (date TBC).
The event also hosted many networking sessions where we got to meet and talk with MYPs and representatives from across the country. My particular favourite was the local showcase, where we were with MYPs from across the country and had a discussion about our local campaigns. My favourites were Transport, Education and Mental Health.
We also had the annual summer disco which was very fun!
Now, this month’s update comes with some bad news. At the end of last month, the Members of the Surrey Heath Youth Council were informed that Eikon, the charity that has supported us for over a decade, will stop supporting us at the end of July. They had several reasons for this, and if you would like a full copy of this letter, please contact me.
Now, this is not the end of SHYC - I would not let it be. We are aiming to be back running by September, however the main avenue we are currently exploring may lead to a November start date. This, however, does not mean that we have stopped running! If you want to contact us, I am still monitoring the inbox firstname.lastname@example.org - drop us a line if you have any advice/questions, or wanted to join the Youth Council!
Thank you for reading this month’s update! As always, if you would like to contact me, you can use my contact form here, or DM me on any of my socials - @DylanBaldockMYP on Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram and now Threads!