Young people from across Oldham are coming together to organise the borough’s first youth summit – Over To Youth.
Four events organised by the Oldham Youth Voice Family (Oldham Youth Council, Barrier Breakers and Children In Care Council) are taking place over a week of powerful youth voice action highlighting the national and global issues that are important to them.
Last year saw 11,500 local young people vote on the issues they care about, via the largest youth UK consultation, the Make Your Mark ballot.
Mental health, putting an end to knife crime and protecting the environment were among the top concerns. These areas will each have their own dedicated event throughout the week across various locations in Oldham.
The summit will be rounded off with Oldham’s first Youth Mayor Ball, a celebration of youth triumph including entertainment, fundraising and the inaugural Oldham Inspirational Young Person’s Awards.
Samah Khalil, Oldham Youth Mayor, aged 19 said: “I’m so excited to join other young people for this eventful week of youth voice action where we can have meaningful discussions with decision makers, reach out to more young people and celebrate their wonderful and inspiring achievements.
“Oldham’s youth have spoken, along with tens of thousands of others across the UK and our priority areas are common to other places. However, our voices need to be turned into action because all these issues can have devastating effects on our lives and our future.
“The Over To Youth summit brings young people together on a big scale, not just from the Oldham Youth Voice Family, but also from other local youth organisations and our schools to make a positive difference.”
The summit, supported by Oldham Council and the Oldham Opportunity Area, is opening with a climate change eco festival in Parliament Square from 11am to 1pm, where young people will gather and spread messages as to how we can all contribute to saving the planet.
Banner making, speeches and stalls will be the order of the day before a parade will take place through Oldham town centre.
During the week, hundreds of pupils will also descend on the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Oldham Civic Centre for mental health and ‘Say No To Knives’ workshops. At the Mental Health event – which will see dozens of schools attend – the Oldham Opportunity Area is publishing consultation findings of a report called ‘Our Minds, Our Voices’, containing the views of more than 3,000 young people.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services added: “Oldham’s young people are our greatest asset and it is extremely important that their views are acted upon.
“This summit highlights the incredible commitment so many young people have in wanting not only Oldham’s people safer and better, but young people living in the rest of the UK and around the world.
“Young people need to be at the heart of the changes that need to be made, and I couldn’t be prouder of what our local people are doing with this Over To Youth summit.”
Follow our summit journey and help spread our message via social media by using the hashtag #overtoyouth