An Interview: Youth Space

13 Jul

There are so many great people living in Reddish, working to make it a better place for everyone. One of the main objectives of Reddish News  is to bring these brilliant people and their projects to light. This week Jez spoke to Christopher Hill, who is working on the Youth Space project. Don’t know what it is? That’s what we are here for! Read on to find out more in this great interview with Christopher!

Who are you and what is your connection to Reddish?

I’m Christopher Hill, a 20 year old student at the University of Manchester. I am a Reddish lad, lived here all my life and went to School at St. Elisabeth’s and Reddish Vale. I am also now deeply rooted at Reddish Vale as a Governor/Director.

I keep seeing you at events across Reddish and Stockport promoting Youthspace. What is it?

Youth Space is a concept we hope to develop into a social enterprise/co-operative/youth organisation. We aim to provide a platform for young people to achieve their ambitions whilst helping others. We hope to do this through a virtual space (www.youthspace.info) and a physical space (the youth space hub/shop in the centre of Reddish). Youth Space this year has funded work with Human Utopia(our partner organisation) and together we have worked with over 1000 young people. We are currently continuing our Future Leaders Programme that has 3 stages; Thinking, Doing,Changing.  This is done by a combination of workshop and social action.

You pride yourself on having the co-op values. What are these and why do you feel they are such an integral part of what you do?

The values are: solidarity, democracy, equity, equality, self help and self responsibility. There are also a series of ethical values and a set of key principles that are available to see at www.youthspace.info.

The values to me represent universal aims for all human beings and so offer people the chance to grow and develop together, as one, as co-operators. The principles act as guide and temper my actions as co-operator and ensure live harmoniously with others. They are important because they have made a difference to my life through Phil Arnold (Director of College Improvement RVTC). He’s an inspirational man who was instrumental in bringing co-operation to RVTC. Since 2008 I have worked co-operatively to help develop a coffee co-op, creative co-op, and speak at high profile events, all things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Above all else the values have made me want to be a ‘Phil Arnold’, someone that works tirelessly without courting recognition. That’s why I want to ask for help to develop Youth Space so more young people can be switched on by these values and make Reddish an even better place.

Do you feel that young people get much of a say in the local community? If not, how do you feel this could be addressed?

I think youth councils and organisations like the ROC Cafe have helped in this area to some degree. I still feel that the 16-17 year olds feel disenfranchised with no vote and no mechanism to express their good ideas, opinions and thoughts on the political questions of the day (local, national, global). Civil society can only remain ‘civil’ if young people have a point in which they can invest in hope for the future and harness the idealism that youth holds.

Specifically Youth Space proposes the Youth Space hub that would be funded through membership and wider stakeholders. This would continue our workshop work and provide a space in which young people can organise to set up social action projects to combat injustice. I believe young people have the passion and talent to be independent. Together they can take ownership of local politics without the aid of a politician/official who doesn’t know the price of milk or the plight of young people in the 21st century. Youth Space is happy to share knowledge of the political process in a neutral fashion but prefers young people to use co-operative action to bypass the red tape.

Reddish Business Forum are asking the question “What’s your vision for Reddish over the next five years?”. What’s yours?

– For Reddish to have a Councillor under the age of 24 to represent young peoples issues with real understanding. Cllrs to hold regular youth surgeries in local Schools.

– For Reddish’s youth organisations to join up their services to offer a safety net and variety of experiences for young people. No young person should miss out on the chance to develop skills outside of school hours. As “by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”.

– To open the Youth Space Hub.

– To continue our work with Human Utopia accessing every school in Reddish/serves Reddish. With all young people in Reddish having the opportunity to be a hero.

– To see young people in Reddish celebrated as the area’s greatest asset.

We hear you’re planning an event on the 14th July. Tell us about it.

Yes, the Youth Space BBQ and Activities Day at Reddish Vale Technology College. Earlier in the year I put in a bid for £800 from the Community First pot (supported by Cllr Verdeille, Sophia and James) and was successful. The event is a reward for the contribution young people have made to the Reddish community over the past year as ‘Heroes’. On the day we will have prizes for the young people, a high ropes assalt course, live music and DJ Sets. This event will also give current learners at Reddish Vale the chance to celebrate the Schools Diamond Jubillee. We also hope to encourage more young people to get involved and adults to support us in our second year of activity.

Find more information on Youth Space:

http://www.youthspace.info/

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by Jez Myers

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