Young people from across the county attended the first Monmouthshire Youth Forum at County Hall, Usk on Friday, 5th July. The meeting, hosted by Monmouthshire’s youth forum Engage 2 Change provided pupils from the county’s four secondary schools with an opportunity to discuss and debate issues that are important to them. A range of officers from Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Monmouthshire County Council who along with other organisations form the Monmouthshire Public Services Board (PSB) will use the voices of our young people to inform future decision-making.

The meeting provided a platform for young people to share their thoughts with representatives of the PSB. The voice of young people is integral to the work of the PSB. The meeting aimed to provide both young people and public bodies with an opportunity to become informed about what the matters are and why they are important. The forum is hoped to become a regular occurrence. 

Young people were eager to ask the various officers questions about the provision of mental health services for children and young people. Mental health has recently been voted the most important issue for young people, in addition to homelessness and knife crime.

In 2018, 2,787 young people from across Monmouthshire participated in the ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign and voted on the issues that were most important to them. ‘Make your Mark’ is led by the British Youth Council and aims to provide young people with an opportunity to influence debates in the House of Commons by Members of Youth Parliament.

Young people posed thoughtful and informed questions. Those who attended the event were able to ask face-to-face questions but also had the opportunity to use an interactive online tool. The online tool allowed young people not attending the event to get involved too. The meeting, which took place in the Council Chamber, was also livestreamed which aided more people to watch and listen during the session or at a later date.

The young people heard from Richard Blakemore – Chief Inspector at Gwent Police, Mike Richards – Superintendent at Gwent Police, Dr Luke Jones – Regional Head of Children Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Transformation Programme at ABUHB, Bronwyn John Head of Partnerships at ABUHB, Mark Hand Head of Planning at Housing & Place-shaping at Monmouthshire County Council, Ian Bakewell Housing & Communities Manager at Monmouthshire County Council, and Rachel Lewis Planning Policy Manager at Monmouthshire County Council.

Cllr Richard John Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“I am so pleased to see young people at County Hall and utilising our council chamber. The forum provided a perfect opportunity to help our Public Services Board hear the views of our young people and provide pupils with the chance to ask the people who make the decisions about the things that really matter to them. I hope to see more opportunities like this in the future. I would like to thank our partners at Gwent Police and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for coming along and look forward to more partnership working in the future.”

The Monmouthshire Youth Forum is supported by Monmouthshire’s Youth Service. For more information contact Jade Atkins – CharlieJadeAtkins@monmouthshire.gov.uk

The meeting can be viewed via the YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfm0nB_YKtg

Visit https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/psb/ for further information on the Monmouthshire PSB.