Beginning a journey
Admiration, privilege and motivation… these were just some of the feelings I had travelling home from our very first Advisory Panel Residential in Hertfordshire. I work as the Participation Officer at Young Women’s Trust and it’s my responsibility and passion to ensure the voices of young women influence the decisions and choices we make as a charity but, most importantly, that they are heard where it matters most.
By train and by car, 12 young women travelled from across the country to attend the weekend residential where they learnt about our Scarred for Life? Inquiry and our Work It Out coaching service. They discussed how to get involved in campaigning for Young Women’s Trust, suggested ways to help with our social media work and shared their views on careers advice - an important subject for so many young women who struggle to find work. Regardless of the adversities they’ve all faced, what seemed admirable to me was their burning desire to make sure that other young women wouldn’t go through the same experiences as they did.
On the Sunday members took part in public speaking training. It was a privilege to hear why they wanted to be a member of the Advisory Panel and how important it was to each of them to make a difference for other young women based on their own experiences. Although some were apprehensive about speaking in public at first, with the help of some top tips and tricks it was amazing to witness members growing much more confident in their abilities by the end of the day. One panel member said “I found the session very motivating and inspiring. I felt more confident about public speaking and would like to do further lessons.” Providing young women with the opportunity to improve their own skills and build confidence is an essential part of engaging with them.
The Advisory Panel is just one way that young women influence our work. I also run a ‘secret’ Facebook group for young women where they can share their views and stay informed about our work wherever they are. Young women can also volunteer for us in the media and I’m delighted that some of the Advisory Panel members have already begun blogging for us. Watch this space to read what they have to say!
At Young Women’s Trust we want young women to be at the heart of everything we do. Our continued commitment to listening to young women and enabling them to have a voice is part of what motivates me in my role. But the real motivation for me is having the pleasure of working with some fantastic young women and hoping that, in some small way, I’ve played a part in their journey for change.