Successful Youth Voice conference held in Coleraine

The Causeway Coast and Glens Youth Voice group recently hosted a very successful conference in Coleraine.

Supported by the Education Authority, the ‘Our Space, Our Voice’ event brought together 16 schools and approximately 150 young people from the Causeway Coast and Glens to network and exchange views. It was an opportunity to hear the voice of young people and for those in attendance to help shape and inform an Action Plan for future youth services in the Borough.

The conference featured screenings of short films produced by Youth Voice members on themes including mental health, identity and climate. These creative and thought-provoking assets highlighted the key areas which will be taken forward as part of the Youth Voice campaign and advocacy work.

Speaking at the event, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Ivor Wallace, said: “It is encouraging to see young people being proactive in addressing important matters such as mental health, identity and the environment.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Ivor Wallace pictured at the Our Space Our Voice conference in Coleraine with Ashleen Schenning and Ciara McNickle

“As a key partner for Community Planning in the Borough, Council is keen to work alongside statutory agencies like the Education Authority to establish and foster ongoing links with young people. Council recognises the excellent work being undertaken by the Youth Service and Youth Voice to ensure the active participation of young people and develop a credible, democratic, and accountable voice for them, and we are very pleased to support this work.”

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Council’s Environmental Resources Officer Fiona Watters who also attended the conference said: “I was really pleased to see the environment emerge a key theme of the conference, and the Youth Voice group made a fantastic short film about litter, which was shown to help start a conversation around this.

“The quality of discussion and feedback from the audience was brilliant and will be used to inform Council’s draft Litter Strategy and Action Plan. Congratulations and thank you to Causeway Youth Voice for organising such an important and worthwhile event.”

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Youth Voice, supported by the Education Authority Regional Participation team, is a key mechanism for community and youth engagement within the Causeway Coast and Glens Community Plan and inclusive participative engagement and connection.

Bebhinn McKinley Community Planning Officer added: “Youth Voice provides opportunities for young people to actively participate in many aspects of our Community Plan. It also ensures engagement and consideration of the views of other young people by our statutory partners through consultative opportunities. It was wonderful to see the level of interaction and energy at the conference. Well done to all the members of Youth Voice on making this such a successful event.”

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Environmental Resources Officer Fiona Watters pictured with members of Youth Voice