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  • Writer's pictureBeth Nunn

The L!STEN Youth Summit - 6th February 2024

On Tuesday 6th February, 15 Stockport schools, 2 Stockport Colleges, numerous VCSFE organisations, businesses and a large number of council representatives including Mark Hunter (Leader of Stockport Council) and Caroline Simpson (Chief Executive of Stockport Council) gathered at Stockport Town Hall. This was all for our first ever Youth Summit as part of our work with L!STEN!

The aim of the Youth Summit was to give young people an opportunity to discuss and share their views on Stockport Council’s ‘One Stockport, One Future’ plan and voice their opinions on the ‘Five Big Things’ Stockport Council plans to do to improve Stockport. This was to ensure the long-term plan for Stockport provides what future generations want and need in their communities.

All students were already fully prepared for this day and raring to go! Beth and Munji held in school sessions where they heard all about what was important to young people, gave them the opportunity to record their opinions in video format, thought of questions for the panel and chose their workshops. Yes…all in 2 hours! All this groundwork meant that the day went as smoothly as envisioned and we think it was a huge success!

The young people who attended had a choice of five workshops:

1)     A healthcare debate in the council chambers. This was hosted by Stockport College and was a real highlight for lots of the students that took part.

2)     A workshop with Becky from Wilmott Dixon about what good homes for the future will look like. They spent time working on developing skills for work and life, whilst also considering how to budget and structure effective new buildings in the future. Whilst doing this they spent time discussing the future of jobs and homes in Stockport, emphasising what was important to them.

3)     Building their ideal neighbourhood with Fiona Berry and Eleanor Crawford from Stockport Council's Neighbourhood team. The creativity the students had with the lego was fantastic to see!

4)     Transport workshop – working with Liz Atherton and other members of Stockport Council thinking about how to make Stockport transport links more user friendly and sustainable for the future.

5)     Considering all the pieces that contribute to making Stockport a great place to grow up with Jen Samani. The young people worked in groups to consider what they loved and what they wanted to improve in their area.

They also had the chance to explore a market place of stalls which showed what Stockport has to offer young people. We loved seeing them interact with all the different organisations and have conversations of how they could get involved with them!

A panel of speakers also answered questions from the young people themselves. Thank you to the following for giving up your time and sharing your expertise and knowledge with the room:

  • Karen James, Chief Executive, Stockport Foundation Trust

  • Aba Graham, Stockport Race Equality Partnership

  • Rachel Harrison, Chief Inspector, GMP

  • Steve Oliver – Chief Executive Music Magpie

  • Caroline Simpson, Chief Executive, Stockport Council .

It was great for students to see a tangible example of how they can have their voices heard and be in dialogue with important people in the community.

At the end of the day, everyone in the room wrote a pledge outlining how they would make sure Stockport is a fantastic place to live, work and play. We hope that these will be displayed somewhere in the near future! Here are some examples of the pledges we received:

The students really did their schools and communities proud – many volunteers and councillors commented on their maturity and were impressed by the dialogue between different school students. We have always been big advocates for young people and for their voices to be heard, so we are so grateful to Stockport Council for letting us get involved in this and we hope to organise more events in the future that continue this important work!

A big thanks to all the volunteers, workshop leaders, marketplace stalls, schools and council members who made this event so great!

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