Graham Stuart, MP for Beverley and Holderness, recently visited Volunteen Withernsea and Volunteen Voice at the new Blue Door Café at Valley Gardens in Withernsea.
The Withernsea Big Local and The National Lottery Community Fund-supported youth initiatives work with children and young people aged from 10-25 years-old to help boost their confidence, gain skills and knowledge, engage with democracy and other decision-makers, and give them a platform to have a say in their community to make a positive change, as well as have fun, try new things and make new friends. It also offers young people the chance to gain accreditations in the new skills they’ve learned.
Volunteen Withernsea and Volunteen Voice are both projects run by East Riding Voluntary Action Services (ERVAS), which has been delivering youth volunteering and social action activities since 2010, and aims to encourage, support and reward young people who participate in volunteering and social action in their communities.
Graham said, “It was an absolute pleasure to meet Detty, Mark and all those involved in Volunteen to hear about the exciting projects they have planned, which will help young people have more of a say in shaping their communities.
“People sometimes forget how important it is to give young people a voice, despite the fact that a lot of the decisions that are made will affect them just as much as anyone else, if not more so. It hasn’t helped that the pandemic has made it even harder for them to have a say as they’ve been stuck at home.”
The project follows on from previous successful Volunteen projects, which have helped young people in the East Riding, including more vulnerable groups such as those in care, those with poor mental and emotional wellbeing and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND); supporting them to develop and deliver volunteering and social action projects for the benefit of their community. All in all, over the last 11 years, the ERVAS Volunteen projects have engaged over 10,000 young people across the county.
ERVAS is also working closely with East Riding Council and other partners to run the East Riding elections to the UK Youth Parliament in February 2022, and also aims to form a county-wide Youth Council that will represent a wide number of existing youth voice and influence fora across the area.
Detty Tyler, Children & Young People’s Services Coordinator at ERVAS, added: “It was great to have Graham down to update him on our plans now that we have received valuable funding from the National Lottery Community fund and Withernsea Big Local.
“Being an elected representative himself, it was really useful for him to see our efforts to get young people more engaged in what’s going on in their communities, and it was also a good chance to tell him more about our wider youth volunteering and social action projects as well.”
The youth consultation event took place at the new Blue Door Café in Withernsea’s Valley Gardens. The new café is part of a world-first multinational partner project which gives local residents the chance to hire brand-new bicycles for free, offers support with maintenance and gives advice on safe cycling.