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Diversity in the UK

I recently read some interesting short essays written by Hanna Wittek, Somerset UK Youth Parliament Advisory Group Member, and thought it would be good to share her insights.  The first one looks at Diversity in the UK...

Research shows that London was the most diverse city in the UK. The UK has over 17 ethnic groups with 86% being either Irish, Gypsy or Irish Traveller or other White; 7.5% being either White and Black Caribbean, White and Asian, White and Black African or other mixed; 3.3% being African, Caribbean or other Black; 2.2% being Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Chinese or other Asian. Finally, 1% being Arab or any other ethnic group.

Most of the people in the UK agree with the opinion that it's good to mix with people from different backgrounds. I do also agree with them that the UK should be a nation with people from all different ethnic groups. However, there are some people who have different thoughts of our mixed society. These people think that England should only contain white English people which in my opinion is really unfair.

In other countries, it is forbidden for one ethnic group to mix with another. However in most of the modern countries, just like the UK, it is good to have a mix of different race people. And in England racism is not tolerated and whoever is racist in a very offensive and cruel way, should get punished for their actions.

Another very important part of England's culture is the people's sexual identity. In 2015, 1.7% of the UK population identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other. This, in my opinion, is good that our society contains people with different sexual backgrounds. This is the kind of unique culture that we live in, where everyone is accepted for who they really are an there is no shame in expressing yourself.

To conclude, diversity in the UK, in my opinion, it doesn't matter what ethnic group you're in or what sexuality you are, the key things is that everyone is unique. This is what makes Britain such a diverse, fantastic place to live in.

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Life after UK Youth Parliament

Its amazing to see what the young people who are elected as Members of Youth Parliament, their Deputies and the UKYP Advisory Group members can acheive when they are part of the group.  Of course, they all eventually leave the group and move on to other things over time, often leaving us wondering "what are they doing now?"


Recently we received an update from Thrinayani Ramakrishnan who was previously the MYP for the Sedgemoor and Mendip area.  Thrinayani is now at Southampton University studying Maths with Actuarial Science and also works part time for the Uni's Centre for Cancer Immunology (as well as raising funds for them).  In addition, Thrinayani is Communications Officer for Southampton's Acturial Society and recently met Princess Anne in her role as a Youth Advisor for UNICEF UK.

Thrinayani feels that the time she spent as part of the Somerset UK Youth Parliament groups was really helpful, saying "I think the credit goes to UKYPAG, I probably would not have built up those skills of communication and campaigning and trying to make a difference if it wasn't for you and the UKYPAG team so thank you!"

Kate Darlington, the Youth Worker for the UKYP Group said  "She's an amazing young woman! A strong, compassionate & commited female role model who advocates for equality & Somerset UKYPAG (past & present members) is very proud of her."


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Safer Communities Lincolshire have been taking the internet by storm after posters for their #NoMore campaign to tackle sexual violence and abuse were spotted in the toilets of clubs and pubs in the county.  The campaign has been sited around the world as a brilliant idea which should be taken up by more areas.

With greater use of on-line dating there is an increased danger of people finding themselves meeting up with someone who is not who they said they were, or in a situation where they do not feel safe and are not sure how to get out of.  The #NoMore campaign enables people to go to the bar staff and "ask for Angela" - the staff will then call a taxi or help them leave discreetly to help ensure their safety.

Click here to visit the Safer Communities Lincolnshire website for more information about the campaign.

Whilst I think this is great idea, I'm very glad I'm not working in a bar in Lincolnshire during this campaign - I could suddently be very in demand!

Angela Derry
Project Support Officer - Youth & Community 

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How to stop an Islamophobic attack

I recently saw an article on A+ featuring a brilliant cartoon by 'Maeril' showing how you can stop an islamophobic attack in four easy steps.  The article repsonds to the growing frequency of such attacks.  However, the real beauty of the steps shown are that they could be applied to any kind of verbal abuse - whether it is bullying, racial motivated, anti-religious etc.

Click the image below to see the article 


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Sexual Consent

Sexual consent has been talked about extensively in the media of late. It is often described as being a 'complicated' issue, which can mean people are given more leaway than they should when they act without clear consent. They key to consent is communication - if in doubt ask! The person you need consent from is right there, ask them if it's OK! If they say no, are not able to respond (because they are too drunk, for example) or seem unsure or ill at ease then consent has not been given.

A couple of really useful analogies have been written which express how straightforward consent actually is, click on the images below to read these analogies.




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Make Your Mark!

Young people from Somerset's UK Youth Parliament have been working hard around the county to promote this years national UKYP 'Make Your Mark' campaign which will launch on Friday 12th August 2016.  The aim of Make Your Mark is to give young people across the UK a chance to vote on the issues that matter most to them and shape the topics discussed and debated at the UKYP House of Commons Live Debate in November.

undefinedAs a result of their efforts 15 schools and youth groups have pre-registered their commitment to take part in the consultation.   

Youth & Community Worker, Kate Darlington, who coordinates and supports the Somerset UK Youth Parliament group said 
"I am incredibly proud of the hard work the Somerset Members of Youth Parliament have put into the Mark Your Mark campaign already this year. Kira Lewis, MYP for Taunton Deane & West Somerset, in particular has shown amazing dedication and commitment to this and other areas of work with the group and is an excellent representative for the young people of Somerset."

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council said 
"Thank you and well done to the Somerset Members of the Youth Parliament for all their efforts in engaging Somerset children in the Make Your Mark campaign.  It's a good opportunity for children to have their say and so feed directly into the work of the UK Youth Parliament. It also gives schools and other youth organisations a powerful springboard for discussing and exploring the different issues that matter to young people."


Results will be announced on Tuesday 18 October 2016. 


Click here for more information on Make Your Mark. 


To find out more about Somerset  UK Youth Parliament - click here.


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An inspirational day!

Sunday 11th October saw the Somerset Youth & Community Service Team at Taunton YMCA to support the Taunton Deane Youth Network's Youth Work Training Day.  The Taunton Deane Youth Network is a group of representatives from companies and organisations who are engaged in work with young people in the Taunton Deane area.  The network meets approximately four times a year to share ideas, news and expertise.

Earlier this year the network identified that there was a need for a training day.  This event would allow anyone involved in work with young people to attend workshops to improve their skills and network with others working in the field.  Somerset Youth and Community Service offered to support the event by coordinating the day and tutoring some of the workshops.  The event was launched in July and the bookings quickly started coming in.

The day went really well with 40 people attending and a staff team delivering eight different workshop options:

  • Youth worker roles & responsibilities
  • Young people's voice in their communities
  • Involving and developing volunteers within your youth work
  • Measuring learning outcomes in youth work
  • Inspiring youth work - how does your youth session buzz?
  • Funding applications - top tips and common pitfalls
  • Dealing with challenging behaviour
  • Sex, drugs and rock n' roll - how do we get the message across?

Our Service Manager, Jeff Brown, became the hero of the day when he stepped in to write and deliver a Funding Applications workshop at a couple of hours' notice when the original trainer was unable to make it.

It was a hectic but brilliant day.  A really wide range of people attended, bringing experience and knowledge from lots of perspectives.  In fact for most people there, the opportunity to network with other people was one of the highlights of the day. 

Responses to question "the thing I most enjoyed about the event was..." included:

"Being stimulated and challenged, meeting so many amazing people and being encouraged."

"Meeting a good range of organisations and individuals who are active in youth work."


Other quotes from the feedback included...

"I thought being in a youth club just meant turning up, I hadn't realised quite what a difference we make and how much support is out there."

Thank you for organising the event - well planned and executed.  Big pat on the back!"


Angela Derry
Project Support Officer - Youth & Community 

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