YMCA North Staffordshire have won funding to run the first Youth Ambassadors Programme in Stoke-on-Trent – and are asking schools in the area to get involved!

The project, which is to be funded by the Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area, and will be led by the YMCA and will support development and leadership skills and social engagement in young people.

The City Youth Ambassador network aims to raise the voice of the young people in Stoke on Trent, equipping them with skills and knowledge to bring about change on a local, national and international level. YMCA have partnered with Wavemaker Stoke and National Citizen Service for the project.

The programme is to be rolled out to all Year 7 students starting with fun interactive assemblies which will develop into workshops leading to social action campaigns. These campaigns will then be pitched in a Dragons Den style setting to the delivery partners.

Those involved will also have the opportunity to pitch themselves to become a change agent for the Youth Ambassador programme. A residential will take place in July, and a further 12 month programme, including youth hustings across the country, London visits and opportunities to speak on a national level.

Carol Shanahan, Chair of the Opportunities Area, said: “I’m delighted we are launching this project, funded by the Stoke-on-Trent Opportunity Area and led by YMCA. The project will support the development of leadership skills, social engagement and provide a “voice” amongst the city’s young people. It will also lead to stronger youth representation in local decision making on issues that affect them.”

Jerahl Hall, Change Agent at the YMCA, said: “It’s important for Stoke to have a network of young people who advocate on behalf of their peers. Essentially they can be the leaders of the city in the future and we must equip them with the skills and experiences today. I have seen through my experience at the United Nations, the Portuguese Government and at other international events that to create a positive difference, you need leaders of change, you need Change Agents to ignite effective impact.”

The YMCA aims to start the assemblies in schools from March 4, with initial sessions forming an outline and basic introduction to youth leadership, social action and digital campaigning. The platform aims to engage and inspire children who would not always get the opportunity to learn about leadership.

Nicky Twemlow, Community Manager at YMCA, said: “YMCA North Staffordshire are so pleased to be delivering the City Youth Ambassador Network programme. We believe that children and young people have a got a voice and should be heard – they are the change makers of the future – so what we want to do is invest in them now so they have the skills and tools to make changes for their positive futures.”

**Schools are asked to get in touch to book a place as soon as possible and are asked to contact Caitlin.Grainger@ymcans.org.uk to book an assembly.

For more information about YMCA North Staffordshire click hereYMCA-logo