Guest blog: Joe Stockley, BYC trustee

9 Nov 2017

Hi, I’m Joe, I’m 21 years old, and youth services, in a whole variety of ways, have been of utmost importance to my life for the last 6 years.

When I was 16, I moved out of my home in a quiet little village to a council estate, where burned out cars and 2am quadbikes past your window were a regularity. To help some friends I was living with, we ran a youth group, for the young people in that area. We ran it every Wednesday, we charged 50p for entry, and we held an assortment of different activities.

Because of that, I started going to the South Northants Youth County Council. There I began finding out how important youth work really was, and also how important it was to support it with good governance, and with efficient strategy. I went to university, and then everything went a little quiet for the first year. I was fitting into a new city, learning how to do a degree, and learning that beans on toast isn’t a good meal for 5 nights a week. I eventually came back to social action, and supporting young people. I joined UpRising, a youth Social Action group who are in major cities across the UK. They have trained and equipped young people to do some pretty amazing things. Because of the incredible support I received there, I moved on to the British Youth Council, representing thousands of young people across Wales, and that’s now evolved into a place on their board of trustees, while working in the charity sector in Wales. So what was the point in that brief biography?

My point is this. Who I am today, and what I do with my life today has been determined by hours and hours of support, help and assistance from a huge variety of youth services. They’ve made so much possible for me, and they’ve created a huge support network I can rely on and work with. Youth services changed my life, for the better. That’s why I work now with and for them, so other young people in the same position as I was 6 years ago can benefit in the same way.

We as young people are the future of humanity, it’s beyond crucial to ensure the support is in place for us to realise our potential as such.  This is why I’m so passionate about youth services. They give space for young people to realise themselves, and realise their potential. They give space for friendships to form and lives to change. They give space for difficult teenage years to become less difficult, and for fresh ideas to change the way we think about things. I’d be a very boring person today if it wasn’t for the youth services and youth workers who believed in me and what I do. Support your local youth worker, they’re great.

Joe Stockley,  Trustee of the British Youth Council (@Joey_St0cks)