Sixteen to twenty-five year olds in the West Midlands are being offered the chance to have their say on regional policy.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) established a Young Combined Authority (YCA) Board in 2019 to build youth insight and challenge into regional decision making. The WMCA is now launching a sister project called the YCA Community, which will give a much wider group of young people the opportunity to get involved.
The YCA Community will create an easy and flexible way for young people to share their views on WMCA’s plans and programmes, by inviting members to take part in online surveys and discussions. YCA Community members will have the chance to speak up for younger generations on regional priorities, from the future of cities and transport to tackling inequalities.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “The West Midlands has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the country. So, it’s vital they feel they have the power to help shape our region. As we recover from the impact of the Coronavirus it’s crucial that we build a greener future, with high-paid and high-skilled jobs to secure our young people’s future.
“It’s also crucial that our recovery tackles some of the inequalities we have here in the region, spreading opportunity and ensuring that our community grows stronger as we work to grow our economy. Young people must be at the heart of these plans, that’s why I hope many will take up this challenge and get involved with the YCA Community and help us shape our region’s future.”
Anyone aged sixteen to twenty-five years who lives in the West Midlands is welcome to join the YCA Community – including current members of youth councils, organisations or professional networks, as well as individuals. Activity will take place online, so a larger number of young people across the region can easily engage at a time that suits them.
Benefits of joining the YCA Community include the opportunity to inform and influence regional policies, connect with like-minded people and receive recognition for contributions from the WMCA through virtual certificates.
Chris Burden, Co-Chair of the YCA Board, said: “Being on the Young Combined Authority allows me to speak about the problems that young people face in their lives, but more than that, it allows me to speak our truth to the people who need to hear it. Too often youth voices are listened to, but not heard. The YCA will allow us to change this.”
Both parts of the Young Combined Authority, the YCA Community and YCA Board, are part of the WMCA’s efforts to plan, decide and deliver in a more inclusive way.
This programme of work overseen by Councillor Brigid Jones as WMCA portfolio lead for inclusive communities, who is also deputy leader for Birmingham City Council. She said: “The West Midlands is going to face significant challenges throughout its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and the WMCA and its partners will be making big decisions about the future of the region.
“In this context, it is only right that we turn up the dial for youth engagement and give more young people a chance to shape regional policy. I am looking forward to hearing the direct insights and challenge from our younger population through the YCA Community.”
For more information about the YCA visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/media/4351/about-the-yca-community.pdf
To join the YCA Community go to https://confirmsubscription.com/h/d/9D33E8E93B6DAC06