On December 20th, we had our last Young People Insight forum of the year, and it was all about moving forward. We discussed how YP Insight would develop and move forward in 2017, as we took a look back on YP Insight in 2016.
It was important for me to hear from the young people involved in the platform and understand what they want, because they are at the center of it and it is their voices that are being heard. I’m simply the instigator, who ensures that they feel valued and listened to.
I started by asking what their favourite things about the forums this year were and what they think worked best. The responses I got were:
- Good topics
- Stuff people can relate to and get off their chest
- Acceptance – “I feel comfortable here,” said Alana
- Making connections with new and like-minded people
- Openness of discussions
- Good environment
I also wanted to know which forum was the favourite of each individual or had the greatest effect on them. Personally, mine was the forum on dreams in May, when I had some great young guest speakers. Other favourites included:
- Violent crime (having the two ladies there) – Jason
- Sex – Alana
- Relationships – Kyle
- Sex – Hakeem
- Relationships (it helped people to get their opinions off their chest) – Andrae.
On the flip side, I then asked what they thought could be improved upon. Suggestions included:
- Perhaps having games or doing different things along with the forums
- More socialising and bonding as a group
- Varying the crisp selection
- Having debate nights on really serious topics
- Asking people what they want to talk about and what they want to become more confident talking about
- More professionals coming and talking, giving a different perspective.
In preparation for 2017, I asked the question, what you would like to see discussed next year? What was brilliant about this question, was that it generated interesting, dynamic discussions, simply from us bringing up the topics that we wanted to see talked about next year. Topics we wanted to see discussed included:
- Online dating
- The rise of virtual reality
- Are women in control
- Space in relationships
- The black community
- Cultural appropriation
- Mental disorders
With the forums already a regular occurrence and monthly poetry nights starting in January, I wanted to know what other events the young people wanted to see take place. Responses included fun days out, open mic nights and an art exhibition.
I also wanted to know how everyone wanted to get more involved with YP Insight, as I really want all of the young people around me to take greater ownership of the platform and genuinely feel that it is theirs as much as mine.
We ended off a year of YP Insight with our games night, which was a lot of fun – I’m looking forward to more social events like it in the future.
I’m excited to see everyone again in 2017, when we’ll be celebrating the 1st birthday of Young People Insight on January 17th. We’ll be holding our first poetry night of the year in the new location of Hoodoo’s in Matthews Yard, when the theme will be Celebration and Moving Forward. For now though, have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.