Chelsea Renehan was a member of UK Youth Voice back in 2006-7. Having been involved with UK Youth since then as a Trustee and Vice President, 24-year-old Chelsea was recently elected as the Vice President of ECYC – the European Confederation of Youth Club organisations. At the same time, current ‘Voice’ member Carys Jones-Williams, took part in her first ECYC meeting as UK Youth’s young representative.
Since her time on UK Youth Voice, Chelsea has qualified as a youth and community worker and now works at a youth centre in Surrey. She also manages to find time to work as a consultant for UK Youth with Starbucks Youth Action and Think Big with O2, as well as consulting independently for the NHS, housing associations and schools.
“I first got involved with ECYC when I was part of UK Youth Voice. After being a youth representative, I was a member of the Executive Committee for three years. Now, as part of ECYC’s management team, we’re in a challenging situation, as the funding regime is changing. We have to bid for money from a strand that, traditionally, has funded formal, rather than our non-formal learning approach.
“One of the areas where I hope to contribute will be in helping ECYC look at alternative sources of funding – in particular, I have learned a lot about working alongside the corporate sector through my involvement with UK Youth, as well as my consultancy work.
“For me ECYC is a powerful energiser. I’ve met so many people who are passionate about their work with young people. It’s totally inspiring, feeling part of something bigger – and you go back to your own setting super-energised and super-passionate!”
Carys is approaching the end of her two-year stint on UK Youth Voice. As well as planning and delivering their annual youth conference, she has represented UK Youth at regional and national events.
“Now my term has finished, I am so glad to be carrying on my work with UK Youth! When the vacancy for the young person's representative opened up, I put myself forward as I had enjoyed and gained so much from my previous work and really wanted to take it to another level. Everyone who put themselves forward had to have a phone interview with UK Youth staff members. After a long few days, I got the email to say I had been selected!
“I’ll be attending ECYC meetings, with either one or two meetings per year. We discuss how to work together and develop open youth work across Europe, and I am able to offer a young person's perspective.
“I'm excited about meeting all the people from across Europe, and working with them over the next two years. I hope that I'll be able to make a contribution to the group by bringing my creativity to the table and to ensure that the work being done is relevant and useful to young people in the UK.”
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