Young person

GREATER Manchester Youth Combined Authority (YCA) has met with other young people in the first collaboration between representatives of youth combined authorities from across the country and abroad. 

Representatives from several youth combined authorities, including Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, West Midlands, West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester joined together virtually to share, learn, and explore the integral role of youth voice in the development of policies and strategies within their area on Thursday, 18 February. 

On the same day, a group of representatives from the Greater Manchester YCA also met with a youth group from the Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolia in Poland to discuss how young people have been vital to the work in developing and influencing decision making here in the UK. 

These youth establishments met to share practices, their purpose and their power to collaborate in the future. 

At the meeting on Thursday, the representatives also met with Dr Andy Mycock from the University of Huddersfield to discuss youth engagement and civic journeys. 

Speaking about his involvement in the collaborationChair of the Greater Manchester YCA Liam Scholes said: 

“I think it’s amazing that we as young people are joining forces together, creating a powerful unit to promote change for the hope of a better future. The youth voice is vital in paving the way for a brighter and happier society”. 

Stuart Dunne, CEO of Youth Focus North West, the organisation commissioned to support the YCA, was integral in providing the opportunity for the youth organisations to meet. Speaking about the importance of youth voice in the development of peoples sense of belonging, he said:

“It’s ever more important to keep young people connected, with school attendance kept at a minimum and young people unable to exercise in groups, or meet friends, it can be a very lonely time. All this during a period in life when young people, as teenagers, are meant to mix and be able to learn and grow both personally and socially”. 

The YCA was first established in 2017 following Mayor of Greater Manchester’s, Andy Burnham, manifesto commitment, and approval from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the ten district council leaders. 

The YCA is made up of 42 young people aged between 11 and 18 (and up to 25 for those with additional needs), and the 42 members represent 21 youth organisations across the city-region. 

The organisations represent both geographical diversity of Greater Manchester, and the diverse range of identities and backgrounds apparent across the city-region. 

YCA members have been working hard over its first three years since its establishment and have been involved in various projects including: 

  • Developing Our Pass, the city-region’s free bus travel pass plus additional benefits 
  • The annual Greater Manchester Green Summit events 
  • Presenting at Youth Select Committees on Curriculum for Life and Knife Crime 
  • Speaking at the Northern Power Futures Conference and two Conferences of the North 

The YCA has also hosted topic-specific Working Groups that support Greater Manchester’s work on a Curriculum for Life, Health, and the Environment. 

Greater Manchester’s YCA was the first of its kind in the country, with other similar initiatives now being replicated by locality areas such as Liverpool City Region, West Midlands City Region, and London Youth Assembly. 

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