This post was written by James Halliday Representative for the Yorkshire and the Humber on UK Youth Voice. You can read more blogs from UK Youth Voice by clicking here and follow them on twitter @UKYV.
Hi, I’m James Halliday and I’m from Doncaster, where I work for EXPECT Youth a non-profit alliance of Doncaster-based youth focused organisations. I was asked if I wanted a position with EXPECT after working with one of the board members Jon Whitely the Deputy Chief Executive of dclt. We had met on various community development programmes while on dclt’s pre apprenticeship course. It was on this course I learned many essential life skills for my future.
I’m involved with a vary of programs and projects to improve the lives of young people across the borough where I live through EXPECT. This includes running a youth club, alternative education, community development, social action and much more.
The start of my UK Youth Voice journey
In addition to working for EXPECT I was also fortunate enough to successfully apply to be a UK Youth Voice member. I was very content that my application was successful as I knew that I could have a bigger impact on the lives of young people. I’ve already had lots of positive experiences and met a lot of excellent people despite not being a member long.
Due to being a UK Youth voice member I was invited to Parliament for their Youth Manifesto celebration. I was asked to take part on a panel on why we need sustainable well funded youth services. Initially, I was very excited and grateful to have the opportunity. Then I felt empowered as not everyone gets the chance to speak in Parliament.
We’re at the House of Commons with some of our youth ambassadors and @UKYouth supporting #TalkDemocracy #NDW18 Our very own James Halliday is giving a short update to the meeting about the great @Doncaster_OA work and #EXPECTSummer programme !! pic.twitter.com/h7cswUEX7C
— EXPECT Youth (@EXPECT_Youth_) July 4, 2018
Celebrating young voices in Parliament
I travelled to London by train on the day. I was ready to see the UKYV family and to experience speaking in Parliament. Instantly, when I arrived I was amazed by the architecture and history of the building. Peter Norman, the Strategic Director of EXPECT, supportively came along which was exceedingly motivating. It was also motivating seeing my peers from UK Youth Voice do so well on the first panel. Now it was my turn.
Eventually, I spoke and really enjoyed sharing my thoughts. After speaking there was a Q&A session that I enjoyed even more because I was able to discuss the great work EXPECT and UK Youth are doing. The Rt Hon Dame Rosie Winterton MP (member for Doncaster) came to support. She even gave me a tour of the building including the House of Commons this was a pleasure. It was amazing how lovely MP Dame Rosie Winterton was.
I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in and I’m very grateful to UK Youth and EXPECT for giving young people like me chance. Through this, we can improve the lives of other young people. I’m also very optimistic for the future and look forward to continuing work with both.