The Medway Youth Council has celebrated its 20th anniversary having been officially launched on April 1st 1999.
In 1999 Medway Council set aside £20,000 to establish the parliament believing young people should be actively involved in the decisions affecting their future. The first Chair was Samantha Ellis from Rainham Grammar School who led the beginning of our organisation.
Chair Thomas Baldock said “I am incredibly proud to serve as the Chair seeing in our 20th year. It is clear that while the people change, our purpose never has”.
Originally named Medway Youth Parliament the organisation has remained entirely independent and comprised of young people from all across Medway. It gained an additional seat on Medway Council’s Children and Young People’s O & S Committee after councillors voted to give greater representation to young people.
In 2017 the Medway Youth Parliament was rebranded as the Medway Youth Council, a move to make our organisation more accessible to the wider community.
On Sunday 31st March at Woodlands Youth Centre in Gillingham, former members of the parliament were invited to an event to celebrate our history. Complete with a buffet, quiz and history discussion, guests could also browse our achieve full of historical reports and photographs from decades ago.
Former members also shared their experiences with them all expressing a passion that their time here had a big impact on their life, boosting their confidence and being able to make a difference to the community that they live in.
Former Chair James Peck said “Never doing this to be thanked but so that you could know that you tried your very hardest to make a difference to the people in your community”.
Some former youth workers who were involved at the very beginning of the Youth Parliament spoke about the fantastic experiences they gained from working with young people and that the organisation has evolved significantly from the beginning.
Vince Maple sent a message of support that reads “For the last two decades MYC has done a tremendous job; never afraid to tackle the big issues and holding all decision makers to account. Congratulations to everyone who has been involved over the years”.
The Medway Youth Council is a member of the British Youth Council and also facilitates the UK Youth Parliament elections within Medway. In addition to its annual conference it works closely with Medway’s Youth Service to run the Medway Youth Awards.