Conference allows young people to be Inspired

Inspire! Youth Conference 2014 - Jack Foley and Jess BatchelorYOUNG people from across East Sussex came together to take part in a gathering to discuss the issues which matter to them.

The Inspire! Youth Conference brought together 130 young people to find out about groups, campaigns and activities they and their peers are involved in and nationally.

The East Sussex County Council-run event, held at the King’s Centre, in Eastbourne, was organised by a group of 12 young people and compered by 13-year-old East Sussex Youth Cabinet members Jess Batchelor, from Seaford, and Jack Foley, from Polegate (pictured).

Jack, a Willingdon Community School pupil, said: “I really enjoyed hosting the conference with Jess – we worked really well as a team and that’s what Youth Cabinet is about.

“The schools which took part gave us outstanding feedback and they said they would like to have another one next year.”

The conference included displays, inspirational speakers, art, music and participatory workshops which allowed young people to share their views and experiences with each other and adult decision-makers.

Discussion focused on the three most important issues to the more than 11,000 young people who took part in the Big Vote Youth Cabinet elections: improving access to public transport, providing more activities and support and improving training and career opportunities.

The 20 members of the Youth Cabinet will now develop the issues raised into effective campaigns and keep young people in the county involved.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, said: “I was delighted to see so many young people involved and taking the lead on this event.

“It allowed some very fruitful discussion on issues such as how to best develop their top campaigns, how to improve mental health education and awareness in schools and how to become effective campaigners.”

More information, including feedback on views and ideas discussed during the day, is available by calling the Equality and Participation Team on 01273 335250 or emailing