Empowering Our Youth

Three young women are on a mission for young people’s voices to be heard loud and clear in Gibraltar. Jade Garcia, Skye Bargon and Macey Whalley are the focus group for Voice of Young People (VYP), a group set up last year with the support of the Gibraltar Youth Service.  VYP aims to get young people to ask the questions and make the changes for the betterment of young people’s lives. One of their main aims was to increase the accessibility of information that is already available to young people in Gibraltar.

With this in mind, the members of VYP are compiling a youth directory, so that any young person can look up a service that closely matches their needs and have a contact readily available. Through engaging with the Youth Service, they learned they could go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and get a direct referral. For young people to know how much they could gain from the services of an organisation like CAB is crucial, and this group wants other young people to feel empowered about how to find the right contacts.

Jade, Skye and Macey described their experience of compiling the directory and came to realise just how many relevant associations and organisations there already are in Gibraltar, but that are not widely known to young people. They are dividing the directory into sub-sections: Education, Health, Support Services, Advice and Guidance, Sports, and Arts and Leisure. Jade explained the challenges of carrying out the research as it sometimes took several attempts to find the right contact for an organisation. VYP believe a viable solution would be to make the youth directory available as a downloadable app.

VYP aim to continue engaging with young people via assemblies, attending events and to follow up on issues in meetings with Ministers to create awareness about the group and the directory. Last year, the group met with the Ministers for Education and for Youth and Culture, as well as the Head of the Department of Education regarding social and education issues that they believed young people felt passionate about. Through dialogue VYP were able to express their concerns and work with Ministers to affect change on local issues that mattered to them. With the vision of continuing to impact policy and development in Gibraltar, VYP will have a stall at Youth Day on 10th March, which is organised by Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Gibraltar Youth Service.

You can find VYP on Facebook – @thevyp and if any young person between the ages of 14 and 25 would like to get involved in the work VYP is doing, they can contact the Gibraltar Youth Service on: 200 78637.

BY VOICE OF YOUNG PEOPLE