In 2021 to 2023, we partnered with West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to develop their youth voice board to influence regional policy. Covering mental health, transport, cost-of-living, training opportunities, and more, we helped West Midlands young people speak up for themselves and their community.
The Young Combined Authority is a youth board comprised of 16-25-year-olds in the West Midlands who work with the WMCA and the Mayor to inform policies affecting the region. As part of the new government ‘devolution plan’, power was given to local people to make local decisions. This means that WMCA have control over areas such as transport, the environment, housing, and mental health.
Aspire4u was commissioned to provide pastoral support, youth engagement consultancy, research, events management, mentoring and youth-led recruitment.
What does the YCA do?
The YCA provides young people the opportunity to have their perspectives heard and directly influence local policies. It aims to foster young people’s professional and interpersonal skills. They join monthly meetings where they provide feedback and discuss policies.
To develop these skills, Aspire4u delivered a bespoke training programme. It covered key areas of personal development, like Listening to Communities, How to Network, and Emotional Wellbeing.
How activities shaped policy
YCA recently partnered with the National Youth Combined Authority to conduct a nationwide transport survey with young people from various regions. Areas included: London, Yorkshire, Liverpool, and the West Midlands. Aspire4u provided the required operations and technology to capture feedback and interpret data. This was presented to the mayor and will be considered by decision-makers on a national scale in the shaping of transport policy.
Also, Aspire4u facilitated focus groups with the Mental Health Commission and YCA. The focus groups provided youth feedback on the commission’s research and recommendations. We broke barriers by supplying travel to ensure a diverse range of perspectives. We recruited people from different ethnic communities, the experience of the care system, and domestic / sexual violence.
Through Aspire4u’s work in mentorship and local engagement, we were able to support 20 young people to influence key policies that mattered to them. Young people were given the opportunity to make significant impacts on a regional level which helped them build self-confidence and demonstrate that their opinions matter.
Written by Ikrah Iqbal
For Aspire4u CIC,
The Mindset-Led Organisation
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