The BIG catchup – what’s next for the young people’s investment team
By Reanna Vernon, 21
We’re now two months into the BIG investment codesign process. The 20-strong team of young people has been working in different groups on consultations, research and marketing – so our meeting on Saturday 21 April was the perfect opportunity to “catch-up” on the progress we had all made. We were also faced with the task of creating an action plan as to how we would go forward.
It was great seeing the whole investment team together again and interesting to see how all the areas of work were piecing together to formulate the funding priorities for BIG. The morning began with members of the social media team sharing the exciting contacts they had been able to make through blogging, tweeting #BIGyp and the Facebook page.
The learning team then updated the group on their progress. Abi, 16 explained, “In the Learning Team we basically look at the possible outcomes within a topic and then evaluate how successful it could be. We look at short and long term outcomes and what types of things BIG may fund. We devised a Theories of Change document so we can see how we can measure the success when the final decision has been made. It’s great to hear that our theories of change are being used by the design team to help them come to a decision!”
She talked about how the process had helped her develop, “Personally I think the role has helped me understand more about each topic. I also have so many more skills now than I did at the start… I even use Twitter now!”
The investment team were then joined by Ambreen Shah (BIG’s Deputy Director of Policy for England) and Albert Tucker (Vice-chair of BIG’s England Committee) who arrived just in time to take part in a hilarious energiser led by Tope, one of the investment team. We then had some fascinating in depth discussions around youth unemployment and ended the session by watching Plan B’s Ill Manors video and thinking about the implications of negative portrayals of young people, another key area identified in our research and consultation.
Some of us recorded a podcast about how we felt the process was progressing, which you can listen to below.
After a lunch break we talked and decided we needed to change the way we work as a group. Whilst we have enjoyed working on our separate areas, we felt that now there was a need to focus all our efforts on coming up with solutions to the issues we had prioritised to present to the England Committee. So the team split into two groups – one exploring ways forward in creating opportunities for unemployed young people and the other focusing on mental health and wellbeing in young people.
I joined the mental health and wellbeing group where discussions ranged from defining what we meant by ‘mental health’, to exploring the many factors and issues that young people face in this area. One of the biggest questions we had was about the impact of negative portrayal in society on the mental health of young people. If you have any views on this, or examples of projects working with young people to combat either negative portrayals or mental health issues (or both!) please get in touch with us.
I also caught up with members of the group that had spent the afternoon working on youth unemployment investment options. This work seems to be developing fast and the have developed a manifesto of ideas for BIG to consider if they choose to invest in this area:
- As we start to talk about youth unemployment in local areas, all meetings will be co-chaired by a young person
- Any public meeting should start with young people speaking
- Any public meetings should be arranged at times that allow young people to attend
- We will develop a young people’s video on unemployment
- We will support young people to talk directly to the press and media about BIG’s investment priorities for young people and provide media training.
As we put together plans around the priority areas, we really need input and opinions from young people and youth organisations to ensure we can learn from projects and ideas that are making a difference across the country. Please tell us what you think, and share your experience of:
- Solutions to combat youth unemployment
- Ways to help young people with mental health and wellbeing issues.