This report sets out the outcomes of the Medway Youth Council (MYC) annual conference 2022 following their research into the impact poverty has on young people. It makes some key recommendations for supporting young people during the current cost-of-living crisis.
Rose Stokes, the Chair of the Medway Youth Council (MYC) for 2022-2023 presented the report which provided the Committee with details of the outcomes of the annual conference following their research into the impact of poverty on the young people of Medway. The report detailed key recommendations to schools and other organisations to support young people through the current cost of living crisis. The key findings of the research were highlighted as set out in appendices 1-4 of the report.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:
Support – it was asked what additional support the MYC needed to enable it to continue the valuable work that was provided to the young people of Medway. The Chair, MYC responded that the average cost of its work for the year amounted to £15000 and they had to fundraise or look for sponsorship to raise the funds to enable it to carry out its work. The MYC would be appreciative of any funds that could be provided by the Council towards this budget.
The MYC hoped to recruit more volunteers from a wider breadth of Medway and would ask that the Council and Councillors utilised any opportunity to promote the work of the MYC which may assist them in recruiting more volunteers to ensure more diverse representation on the youth council.
Practical Skills – it was commented that the current level of poverty experienced, in particular, by two parent working households were relatively new, and it was suggested that practical skills such as the importance of budgeting, money management, saving and mortgages should be taught in schools.
Financial Management – it was asked whether youth centres in Medway still provided young people with advice and guidance on money management, such as budgeting advice as this was offered in the past and well received. The Operations Manager, Medway Council Youth Service said that youth centres still provided this support to its young people.
Poverty and Social Determinants of Health – in response to a question on how the MYC would continue its research on poverty and social determinants of health, the Chair, MYC said that they were still at the initial stage of this work which would require more scoping. It was planned that a project, utilising the support and skills of the Youth Parliament would develop a survey that would be distributed to schools and third-party organisations to collate information in order to gain a better understanding on the link between poverty and social determinants of health of young people across Medway. It was suggested by a Member that the MYC engage the Public Health team in the scoping of this research.
The MYC Chair and Officers were thanked for all the work completed throughout the year and it was stressed how important and valuable receiving the annual reports at Committee was in hearing the voices of young people of Medway.
The Committee noted the Medway Youth Council Annual Conference report 2022 and recommended the report be presented to full Council for its consideration.