On the 28th of June 2023, Carmarthenshire Youth Council hosted their Annual General Meeting 2023 in the Chambers at the County Hall. As the Chairperson of the Council, it was my pleasure to chair the meeting and to share with everyone the highlights and achievements that we’d accomplished over the past year. This year’s AGM was a special meeting for us as we celebrate our twentieth anniversary as CYC. Established in 2003, the council has made significant progress over the past two decades, and therefore it was so important to recognise this.

Reflecting on Our Progress

In achieving the first full year after the lockdown, I reflected on how we’d fostered a new sense of teamwork and collaboration which helped with amplifying the voices of the youth across the county. These skills which we had gained from residentials further enable us to rely on each other, support each other, and celebrate each other’s successes, strengthening the unity within our council. Working together with the participation team on a local and national level, I stated how it was an honour to see our projects started in the lockdown period come to life.

Furthermore, I expressed my privilege of working with such a talented and diverse group of individuals who have contributed their time, energy and expertise to our council and our community over the past year. 

Celebrating our Work

Our agenda for the evening was filled with exciting items that showcased our hard work and dedication. We presented a compilation of all our projects, with updates from our members, and an awards ceremony. This gave us the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the progress that we’d made in our various sub-groups such as our most recent project “Never Silence the Violence”, as well as with partner organisations such as Youth Parliaments.

Looking Towards the Future

As the Chairperson, I presented our plans for the future, which includes a Children’s Rights Ambassadors Training Session in collaboration with the Children’s Commissioner for Wales team. I also announced plans for our upcoming conference to celebrate our twentieth anniversary, centred around children’s rights. Additionally, I gave an insight into our very first local consultation that aims to understand and address the important issues faced by young people in our county. The future for the council looks just as exciting as the past, and I can’t wait to see what else it has in store for us.

Awards and Recognition

The AGM also served as a platform to honour individuals who have made significant contributions to our Youth Council. We presented awards for CPR training, Development of the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board Training Animation, as well as recognition to our former members. Our previous chairpersons and members have been a pivotal part of youth voice across the county, influencing key decisions made by adults and contributed so much to our Youth Council. We feel that all their time spent volunteering should be applauded, to remind them that what they achieved was highly valued, and that they should be proud for their commitment and dedication.

Concluding the evening

To conclude the AGM, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Councillor Darren Price delivered his closing speech, highlighting the importance of youth engagement and the positive impact we have on the community. As we look towards the future, we remain driven and committed to making a difference in the lives of children and young people in Carmarthenshire.

Following this, we had a small buffet, which gave us the opportunity to get to know the cabinet members and representatives from the County Council better. We were praised about how our AGM was a tremendous success, and we hope to continue to pave the way for youth voice across the county, making a brighter and more inclusive future for all young people.

By Lucas Palenek