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Chair 2019-20

Hey everyone!

My name is Bethan Makowski and I am the Welwyn Hatfield Youth Council’s chair for this year. I am 17 years old and in Year 12 at Stanborough School, taking my A-levels. I have chosen to do Maths, History and Psychology and so far I am enjoying them. I have been in the Youth Council for around 3 years now and it has been such an amazing experience. I have been offered so many amazing opportunities because of it. To now be chair is such an honor and I cannot wait to do everything this year.

Once I became chair, my first order of business was to ensure we selected our priorities this year. After a debating discussion we decided on:

Mental health

Environment

Equality

I can’t wait to see everything the Youth Council does this year and I hope you enjoy following our journey on here!

#Justtalk and coronavirus wellbeing

Hi everyone!

I really hope everyone is doing well and taking care of themselves! I know this is a really scary time and in this situation it can be difficult to look after your mental health or know how to maintain a healthy wellbeing!

If you would like some help with keeping your mental health positive during this period go to the Just Talk website where there is a new section on corona virus and wellbeing .Click on this link and it will take you to a page with a BUNCH of information including:

Keeping well at home with links to a workout, ways to stay active and resilience top tips!!

Coping with anxiety and ways to deal with worry concerning the coronavirus.

Eating healthily to improve physical health as well as mental health!

Learning at home with links to bitesize.

Talking to children about the coronavirus to help them understand it but in a friendly, less alarming way.

Advice if you’re worried about your own or someone else’s safety

If you feel like any of these links, guides or advice would be helpful for you please go to coronavirus and wellbeing have a look to make sure you are keeping safe, well and happy during these times.

Best wishes from everyone here at youth council, stay safe!!

#justtalk ambassadors

On the 14th February me (Laura Wells) and Jack Hadley attended the #justtalk ambassadors training session which explained what our role as ambassadors would be, which Jack and I are keen to become.

The day started with a brief introduction to the excellent charity #justtalk. Then, Jen Beer gave a very insightful look into the concerns about mental health. Her talk was very helpful and made us all adopt a wider understanding about the topic.

Furthermore, Jack and I presented a PowerPoint about the youth council’s just talk campaign we launched last year. Not only did this help our peers with ideas on how to raise awareness, but this gave me and Jack the chance to practice speaking to a group of people about the topic.

Next, Lara McHale introduced to us the five ways to wellbeing and how this plays a huge part in keeping positive mental health. These consisted of: connecting, keeping learning, giving, being active and taking notice. These five ways can be used as guidelines as to what equates to a healthy mind. These can be interpreted in many ways depending on the individual. Some may see doing these five a day as being achievable whereas others may set themselves the goal to achieve the five over a week or a few days. It’s subjective to what the person feels they can do!

After all of the advice, guidance and direction from the day, Jack and I have decided to put together a presentation and show it to our school in order to educate and reach out to the children who need to hear it. Moreover, we were given many resources such as folders and posters to help us in developing our role as just talk ambassadors

It was a fantastic day and we both learnt so much! I can’t wait to start being an ambassador!

Mental Health conference

On the 30th October Youth council were lucky enough to attend the mental health conference at bishops Hatfield. This was an amazing opportunity to get involved with raising awareness about mental health and learning all about mental health and the challenges people face.

We had many talks by professional mental health speakers. This included a talk from Lara from Mind who discussed the stigma around the mental health issues. She also, evaluated and made clear the differences between mental health and mental ill health which was a real eye opener for us.

Jen Beer from #JustTalk spoke to us about her experiences with working with this wonderful charity and explained the importance of telling someone when you’re not feeling 100%

Finally we had a discussion with John Coleman about the mysteries of the teenage brain and why it really matters. This gave us a lot of information on biology and how this has a huge link towards mental health.

As a Youth Council, we were lucky enough to get involved with the event as we love to help people in the community going through tough times and give as much support as we can. At the start of the day, a number of Youth Councillors helped outside with showing people into the car park which was very kind of them as it was a rather cold day! Furthermore, we had a stall in which we gave out flyers thus giving us a chance to talk about youth council whilst supporting the cause at hand. Beth (the chair of youth council) and me (the vice chair of Youth Council) got the privilege of introducing the key note speakers and gave a speech about the importance of mental health. We were delighted to be given this opportunity as we feel it gave us a chance to express, on behalf of youth council, our opinions on mental health and how much we want to support anyone we can within the community.

it was a wonderful experience and we were so pleased to get involved 🙂

Herts Pride

On the 31st August the Welwyn Hatfield Youth Council got to attend and run a stall at Herts Pride. We arrived early at 10:00am to set up everything and make sure we were prepared for the busy day ahead!

Our stall was a game called guess the flag which informed people about different identities within the LGBTQ+ community. The aim of the game was to match each definition with its corresponding flag. If anyone didn’t know what a flag meant, we would explain to them in order to educate people about the vast community!

On our stall, we got to promote our Youth Council as well as inform people on what we do. We asked people if they lived in Welwyn or Hatfield and if they had heard about our Youth Council. There seemed to be quite a lot of interest so fingers crossed we will gain a few new members from the event! So, our stall was a great way of advertising our Youth Council as well as raising awareness and helping people understand more about LGBTQ+!

It was the most wonderful day and it felt amazing to be there for the community!

Houses of Parliament

On the 16th July the Youth Council were extremely privileged to go to The Houses of Parliament. We met early in the morning to catch a train into London! When we arrived at Westminster, we were lucky enough to have a tour where we learnt a lot about the history of politics and how it’s changed over time. We even got to see the house of lords and ask questions about how debates run in this room!

After the tour, we met Grant Chapps, our local MP and he made us feel very welcome. We had a session with him in which we got to ask him questions which linked in with our priorities. Not only did he give us excellent, interesting answers, he asked us for our opinion too! This made us feel very important and professional as he cared about what we thought on the matters. The questions were on the environment, antisocial behaviour, LGBTQ+, young carers, youth democracy and mental health. We try to address these things at the youth council weekly so it was really interesting to get a politicians insight!

The trip really opened our minds to future careers and opportunities. it was an incredible experience we’ll never forget!


Visit from the Mayor

On the 4th July the youth council were lucky enough to meet Roger Trigg, the Mayor of Welwyn and Hatfield. In the meeting, we got to explain to him, who we are and our aims as a youth council. He said it’s really important to have a Youth council and seemed very interested in what we had to say!

We also got the chance to ask him questions about his role and priorities. The charity he is supporting is potential kids which is a mental health charity. He chose this specific charity because it is less well known and focuses on neurodiversity. Roger feels as though he can really help make a difference for potential kids and we would like to help him by promoting the charity on our social media pages.

When asked what he thinks the biggest concern for young people, he stated that county lines is becoming a big issue in the Borough. This is when a vulnerable child is groomed by a gang leader into trafficking their drugs for them in exchange for money, friendship and status. Most of us weren’t aware of the prevalence of county lines but Roger informed us of the seriousness. As a youth council, we will talk about helping vulnerable children and make sure that the statistics of these horrible occurrences lower.

We want to be more involved with the Mayor so we have invited him along to attend Herts Pride with us and he mentioned that he would be happy to make an appearance at any other events we are attend. This is brilliant publicity for WHYC and gives us a chance to work with the Mayor and learn along the way.

We are very grateful to have met the Mayor and it was a great experience to gain an insight on what it’s like to be a Mayor. It really broadened our minds about opportunity’s for the future!

  • Written by Laura Wells – Vice Chair of WHYC

My Work Experience at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council

I am writing this to tell you what it was like to work at the council, and how they make the community more fun and safe, especially for young people.

For one thing, I have done a lot of work surrounding the organisation and promotion of the ‘Big Summer’ series of events, lasting from 1st – 25th August 2019. This work includes information input into the events calender on the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council website, organising bags from last year’s events so they can be reused for this year and promoting the campaign on notice boards around the Council building and the Campus West Library in Welwyn Garden City. This is done so that children of all ages can get out of the house to play and learn this summer with our many events being run in the Welwyn Hatfield area, such as stories for toddlers at the library or aquatic obstacle courses at Stanborough. 

In addition, I have also done some data input surrounding the feedback for Crucial Crew, a community safety partnership that teaches Year 6 students in primary school about potentially dangerous scenarios they may face, such as Railway, Fire and E-Safety. Having been there myself when I was in Year 6, I can now see how important it is to keep the children engaged, so they can learn what to do and not to do these situations.

I also got to go to a few meetings, one involving nearby Oaklands College, in the organisation of a memorial day in January. This is so that local secondary schools can present and learn about the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Bosnian War. Education like this allows kids in secondary school to learn important parts of history while adding a small amount of creativity as well.

Overall, my time here has been insightful and fun and i have learnt a lot about work in an office environment and the organisation of events in the Welwyn Hatfield community. I would happily work here again.

Written by Spencer Robertson, Y11 2018/19, Dame Alice Owen’s School

Homophobia and Objectification

Recently, on a London night bus, two women were abused in a violent homophobic attack. A group of young men must have seen the two women on a date together. They followed them onto the bus, pestered them and demanded that they kiss . When the women refused to kiss for them, the men began punching them vigorously.

The women were objectified and sexualised which is disgusting and unacceptable. Allegedly men tried to force them to kiss, however their refusal resulted in masses amounts of blood and tears. Sadly, it is very common for lesbians to be sexualised when this shouldn’t be the case.

Lesbians aren’t the only ones being treated like objects. A lot of women, even in the 21st century, are thought of as being something for men to look at. This is ridiculous as women are their own people and have many more qualities than their looks. Objectification stems from female oppression when women were thought of to be inferior to men.

It’s disgusting that people still think that they can treat women like objects as though their only purpose is to please men. An abundance of women are deprived of feeling safe when on the streets or on public transport as they are in fear of being cat called or objectified.

Everyone should be treated equally and is entitled to live in peace

Career Day at Bishops’

On Friday 7th June, year 9 at Bishops’ Hatfield Girls’ School had a whole day off timetable, dedicated to finding about options after GCSEs and potential job options.

There were many interactive activities arranged for us throughout the day. One of these was taking a test brought by Computacenter UK. Through this test we were able to see which jobs we may be interested in based on our personality. I found this interesting because I learned about jobs I hadn’t heard of or considered to be an option in the future.

As we are about to start our GCSEs, our options after GCSEs are important to know about. We heard about the benefits and the different work we would do at either college, sixth form or in an apprenticeship.

Another topic the day focused on was work experience. As in year 10 we will do work experience, we thought about the places we could work and why work experience is important. We learned how work experience helps us to develop key skills needed in a job, such as problem solving and time management.

We also were able to learn about the etiquette that should be used in job interviews as well as how to write a CV. This was an engaging topic because whilst we learn in school about the qualifications we need to get a job, we rarely are taught how to present ourselves to future employers

This day was beneficial to me because soon I will have to consider career options and the education I want after I take my GCSEs. I enjoyed the way the day was set out as we didn’t have to listen to a person speak about our futures for the whole day and were involved in activities. I think all schools should have a day similar to this where students can reflect on what they want to do in the future.

_ Jasmine Lidher