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Youth of the Moorlands Action Council

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: February 19, 2014

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WE are YOMAC: Youth of the Moorlands Action Council. We are the Staffordshire Moorlands youth forum. We aim to give every young person who lives, works and learns in the Moorlands a countywide voice.

Our diverse group of youth councillors meet fortnightly on a Thursday from 7pm to 9pm, and we are run by youth workers Sarah and Gina from Staffordshire Youth and Community Service at Milward Hall Youth and Community Centre, in Salisbury Street, Leek.

As one of the eight Staffordshire district youth forums, we form a part of the ‘Speak Out’ network and are therefore, represented on the Staffordshire Youth Action Kouncil (YAK) and UK Youth Parliament.

One of our main priorities has been to constantly promote the ‘Your Staffordshire Card’ to local people and businesses since it was launched in 2011. As a result of everyone’s fantastic hard work we now have over 37,000 cardholders, and many local businesses now offer 10 per cent discounts to young people who have signed to up the card.

2014 has so far proved to be a very productive year for YOMAC. We are now all ‘Staffordshire HealthWatch Champions’; a role which ensures that local young people have a voice within the health service.

Our main campaign at the moment, though, is ‘Speak Out Staffordshire’, where we will be aiming to promote the ‘Achieving Excellence for Young People’ public consultation, as the county council is proposing massive changes to the way in which our youth services are run in the future.

We want this to be the largest ever public consultation, so we really encourage everyone in the community to participate by either filling out one of the booklets or by using the online interactive version on the county council website.

This is your one, and possibly only, opportunity to say how much the youth service has benefited you or someone you know.

Go to www.staffordshire.gov.uk/consultation or call 0300 111 8000 to fill out a survey.

On Friday, January 24, we had the opportunity to share our experiences and progress from the last year at the annual ‘Staffordshire Youth & Community Service Moorlands District Presentation Evening’.

Youth Councillors Joe Porter, Clarke Lear, Rohan Pall Singh Badwal, Lauren March and Kayleigh March all did presentations about the Staffordshire ‘Speak Out’ network to an audience of over 300 local people.

Amongst Duke of Edinburgh Award participants, youth workers, volunteers and young community project participants, YOMAC members were also accredited with Youth Voice and Youth Achievement Awards for all their hard work.

The Youth & Community Service’s Business Manager, Andrew Nield, who was a keynote speaker on Friday, said: “The presentation in the Moorlands was excellent.

“So many young people not only received their awards, but also took part in the evening; giving talks about their experiences. What a fantastic evening hosted by the young people and supported by the youth workers”.

Paul Webster, who has worked for the service for 19 years, added: “During the presentation evening the over-riding theme was commitment, by the workers, volunteers and especially the young people. It made me very proud to be associated”.

The evening aimed to recognise the future generation’s contribution to the local community, and the various youth clubs and groups were able to demonstrate this committed support through the many display boards that were put up for guests to observe.

YOMAC Members and NCS (National Citizenship Service) participants Kaleigh and Lauren said: “We’re so grateful to have had the opportunities given to us by the youth service. It’s really helped develop us as young people and we now have loads on our CVs”.

“We would like to give a massive thank you to Endon High School for allowing the youth service to host the event in their main hall and diner. As a group we hope that the evening highlights the importance of young people and the youth service as an asset to the whole county, to local politicians.”

We are always open to new members, if you are aged 11-19 and want an opportunity to speak up for local young people and gain valuable life experience, we would be happy to have your contribution. You can also get involved in the many weekly opportunities and activities available for young people in the Leek area, including; Mountside Youth Club, Wednesday and Thursday; @21, Tuesday and Friday; Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Tuesday; Mobile Youth Provision at Ball Haye Green Rec, Wednesday; Movie Nights at Milward Hall Youth Centre, once a month on a Wednesday); and YOMAC, fortnightly on a Thursday.

Contact yc.moorlands@staffordshire.gov.uk or telephone 01538 483180 for more information.

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