Giving Young People a Voice in Libraries
Janene Cox blogs on the highly inspiring My Voice--a Big Lottery funded, youth-led programme to open up creative reading and writing opportunities to disadvantaged young people aged 11 - 19.
As well as being part of SCL, I am also a trustee of The Reading Agency and yesterday I attended our quarterly Board Meeting – and apart from it being fantastic weather in London, I said to someone when I got there- it is like skipping 3 episodes of Eastenders when you go to London in terms of the weather and the seasons , everything has moved forward- it definitely felt as though Spring had really sprung- with blue skies, sunshine, blossom out and everywhere looking very pretty with daffodils etc- And we did have a very good meeting.
But the high point of the meeting for me was a report on the progress of the My Voice programme- My Voice is a Big Lottery funded youth –led programme, funded until March 2014 and it opens up creative reading and writing opportunities to disadvantaged young people aged 11-19.
What was incredibly clear was how timely this programme is- both in terms of the recent statistics relating to Youth unemployment and also the most recent ‘NEET ’stats (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and also in many Local Authorities programmes and activity for young people have been significantly reduced with many offering far less than ever before and where the My Voice programme is being delivered it is making a real difference to the young people who are participating.
The programme is being delivered by TRA in partnership with 18 Library Authorities in four regions (North West, North East, South East and London) and the actual statistics for the first year were incredibly impressive – if you are interested take a look at the Reading Agency website – but as part of the presentation Jessica a 15 year old who uses Pimlico Library came to talk to us about her experience of the programme and she was fantastic – she talked about how she had gained ‘loads of skills’. She can now ‘Write articles… do interviews’ but most importantly she felt she had ‘really enjoyed it’ and gained ‘confidence’ – which I think you would all agree that we all need.
It was such a good presentation and again showed the really positive contribution which libraries can make.
So for me a really good day – and one of those days when once again I learned about yet another programme which TRA / Libraries are delivering in partnership and which is really building our role- both within communities, with schools and also within the Local Authorities.
Today is a more mundane day- still feels like I am waiting for Spring in Staffordshire!! Although to be fair – despite a cloudy day, daffodils and blossom are making a very welcome appearance.