Agenda item

Sheffield Youth Cabinet

Report of the Community Service Manager.



Emma Hinchliffe, Young People’s Involvement Lead, was in attendance for this item. She was based in the Community Youth Services at Sheffield City Council and the teams work included youth work provision, careers advice, special educational needs advice, one-to-one support and sexual exploitation advice. She hoped to explain the work of the Youth Cabinet and how young people were supported and given a voice within the city.


Emma explained that youth voice and participation was about meaningfully listening to the voices of young people in order to empower them and give them the skills and knowledge they need to be able to engage with decision-making locally, regionally and nationally. The Youth Cabinet members were elected every two years and this time their priorities were aligned to the those of the Local Area Committee. As a group they decided on city-wide priorities and, in their local areas, develop projects that they are passionate about. The priorities for this year included a national priority, city-wide priorities and a key local issue.


At this point Emma welcomed two members of the Youth Cabinet, Isabelle and Mitch, who were local to the area and had particular interests in ‘votes at 16’ and reform of the curriculum. Emma shared contact details for the team and asked that anyone who knew of opportunities for young people make contact. Support would be given where possible, and links formed with other relevant organisations.



In response to a question about community safety, Emma advised that there was an advisory group to South Yorkshire Police where young people could raise issues that affect them and influence decision-making. The issues discussed included safety and sexual harassment. An event was also taking place at October half-term on safety for young people.



Emma advised that the team would also be working with South Yorkshire Police regarding in relation to test purchasing of fireworks and alcohol.



Louise Ellison, Deputy Services Manager in Youth Services, managed the work of the youth work team and had written the Dark Nights plan for their service. This involved working with local partner agencies, voluntary, community and faith groups, South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and youth workers, with the joint aim of reducing anti-social behaviour during this peak time. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue would be delivering educational sessions to young people regarding firework and fire misuse. In efforts to engage with young people, there were lots of ‘diversion’ activities planned across the North Local Area Committee region, varying from ice-skating sessions to Ninja warrior activities. The team would also be supporting community bonfires and youth clubs on bonfire night. Joint patrols would be carried out with South Yorkshire Police and if any young people were stopped by the police, they would initially be issued with a Community Resolution. This would lead to a referral to the Community Youth Team, who would then offer one-to-one or group sessions around victim awareness and the consequences of anti-social behaviour.



Councillor Gamble Pugh was pleased to hear that local young people had been campaigning to reduce the voting age to 16 and felt this showed that young people were knowledgeable about issues that affected their lives and so were capable of making decisions at that age. He advised that some of his colleagues had recently visited Bradfield Secondary School and had spoken to students about the Citizenship programme. He felt that members from the different political parties would welcome invitations from schools and colleges for members to attend and explain their role as member and advise on how young people could get involved.



In relation to the community priority of recycling, Councillor Gamble Pugh noted that in parts of Ecclesfield and Chapeltown there was currently a trial of doorstep food waste recycling which was part of a change in Government policy. He welcomed the views of young people involved in the scheme to gain an understanding of how it was working and hoped that in the future it could be rolled out across the city.



Councillor Baker thanked the team for their work with young people. She had previous experience of young people ‘shadowing’ her work as a member at Sheffield City Council and extended this invitation to current Youth Cabinet members to encourage their interest.



Councillor Levery noted that it had been useful to move committee meetings out into the community and it supported engagement of young people.



Councillor Williams had visited Bradfield School to meet with year 7 students. The session included a full range of issues, including flytipping, buses and questions about whether there might be a third world war.



Councillor Whitaker explained that her first introduction to the Youth Committee had been when two members had attended a Education, Children and Families Policy Committee. She had been impressed by the eloquent way in which they talked about how the pandemic had affected them. She had also welcomed the opportunity to attend the elections held at Bramall Lane and hear the views of the prospective members.



The Chair invited the Leader of the Council (Councillor Terry Fox) who had attended to observe the Committee meeting, to speak on this issue. Councillor Fox advised that he had attended the elections at Bramall Lane and a meeting of the Youth Cabinet at Dearne Valley. He welcomed the passion and enthusiasm of young people about the issues that matter to them. He felt that the work of Emma and Louise and their team had provided a good way of reinvesting in youth and allowing young people to ‘repay’ this with their wealth of knowledge.



The Leader confirmed that he had also attended ward meetings and walkabouts to meet the public to understand their concerns. He noted that the Council was currently undergoing some policy developments and he planned to challenge the Youth Cabinet with the same task, by looking at the same information and evidence, and was interested to see how their views on different issues aligned.



The Chair was pleased that the North Youth Cabinet’s issues and objectives matched with the priorities of this Committee, by including issues such as youth provision and recycling. On behalf of the North Local Area Committee, the Chair congratulated Mitch and Isabelle and the other members of the Youth Cabinet for their work and for attending the Committee meeting. If details of future Youth Cabinet meetings could be provided, the Chair extended an offer for individual members of the North Local Area Committee to attend where possible.


Supporting documents: