St Basils Youth Advisory Board wins Good Practice Award for Involving Residents
At Birmingham City Housing Partnership’s Good Practice Awards ceremony on Monday 19th March, St Basils Youth Advisory Board were delighted to win the category of ‘Involving Residents’.
The Awards which were sponsored by affordable housebuilders Lovell and hosted at Birmingham’s Council House were open to social housing providers across the city. The aim was to ‘formally celebrate the excellence demonstrated as part of the day-to-day business within the sector’ and additionally to ‘capture and share the good practice that is being displayed for the benefit of others’.
St Basils Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a youth-led board made up of 15 young people who receive a service from St Basils. YAB was developed 7 years ago as a way of ensuring that there were structures in place for young people to be involved in key decisions, a level of involvement which would be sustained going forwards. St Basils believes young people should be involved at Board level as they can provide a unique insight into St Basils services; which approaches are working and which need development to ensure the right outcomes are achieved for young people.
Now that these structures are an integral part of the way St Basils operates this has allowed more innovative projects within the YAB Youth Involvement project to develop. Based on the same model as the YAB is the National Youth Reference Group (NYRG) which the St Basils Youth Involvement team has facilitated for the last four years. The aim of NYRG is to give a cross section of homeless young people from across England a voice on housing and social policy issues at a national level. Members of the YAB have the opportunity to join NYRG, providing a progression route to further their own interests in politics, housing, tenant involvement and community leadership.
More recently, following a pilot in 2011, YAB members are now fully involved in staff recruitment; sitting on interview panels, asking questions and scoring candidates along with other members of the panel. Also, this year, the YAB and Main Board have developed an apprenticeship scheme where with some training and mentoring ex YAB Chairs and Deputies have the opportunity to progress to sit on the Main St Basils Board.
Therefore YAB provides St Basils young people with opportunities they may not otherwise have been able to access. For the wider population of young people who take a traditional ‘home to university’ path, there are student unions or, increasingly, Youth Parliament schemes which help create political leaders. Young homeless people who may not always have led a stable and consistent life do not have these paths available to them as a matter of course. St Basils Youth Advisory Board fills this gap for some, and provides young people with training, support, resources and real opportunities to make a difference to the lives of other young people.
Accepting the Award on behalf of St Basils, the current Chair of the Youth Advisory Board, Callan Biggs said: "Young people want to be part of the solution not the problem. The YAB is our route to empowerment. As the service users we want to influence how services are run and work in real partnership with professionals. On behalf of St Basils Youth Advisory Board - thank you." Members of YAB and NYRG will be hosting a youth led conference on housing, education, employment, health and welfare entitled ‘Getting It Right for Young People’ on May 17th 2012. To book your place visit:
http://homeless.org.uk/right-for-young-people You can read more about the YAB in the CHP Good Practice Guide which was also launched at the ceremony. Download it here:
CHP Good Practice Guide
Added March 2012