On 3rd October, the British Youth Council welcomed members of alumni, current and former members of staff, current and former trustees and friends of British Youth Council to a drinks reception and celebration to commemorate 70 years since the British Youth Council was founded. With alumni reaching back to the 1970’s right up until the 2010’s, the event was the perfect recipe for exchanging stories and learning about how the British Youth Council has changed and developed over time.
Guests were welcomed by the CEO, Jo Hobbs who then introduced the key-note speaker, Lord Peter Mandelson. He talked fondly of his time as Chair of the British Youth Council, saying ‘BYC played a seminal part in my whole political formation and career trajectory… Although I’ve been in the labour party all my life, what the British Youth Council gave me was an outlook on how you should do politics in the labour party and beyond’. He then encouraged guests to support the British Youth Council to ensure the charity can continue to flourish.
Lord Peter Mandelson handed over to our incoming Chair, Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, who commented: “Nothing makes the current trustees happier than seeing the virtuous cycle of young people leading and really shaping this organisation and being shaped in turn before going off to change the world and then coming back as you all have tonight as the leaders of today.”
Anna Barker, our outgoing Chair, also took the stage and spoke eloquently and charismatically about her personal journey with the British Youth Council. From being a 15 year old carer from a low income background in rural Dorset, up until today as the award winning Charity Chair of the Year. Anna has led the charity as a board member and Chair for the last three years, astounding staff, trustees, young people and everyone in the youth sector with her uncompromising ability to campaign for change for young people. In her departing comments, Anna made three commitments;
- ‘Fun – although we are growing up, we should never stop having fun. Yes of course we should set goals and have aspirations and work really hard, but do this with joy and with light. I will ensure that today and the days that follow, the weeks and the months and the years beyond are filled with passion, joy and meaning like I’ve had at the British Youth Council.
- Give – I am a regular donor but I will also give my time and energy wherever you need it. To the current board, the staff team, I am more than ok to give that. I would also like to pledge £200 in the Big Give, which will be doubled during that campaign this Christmas.
- And finally – I promise to always elevate the experiences of young people, I promise to ask and to listen and I promise to always hold dear the vision, mission and values of the British Youth Council.’
Lewis Addlington-Lee, Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council rounded up the speeches by thanking all of the guests for coming and saying: “Your support really does mean the world. The way we give young people a voice in the UK is something that changes lives and is one of the best things about the British Youth Council.”