A couple of years ago the Trust re-assessed its whole approach to dealing with Chronic Fatigue on trips. Why are we telling you this now?
Because that action came as a direct result of feedback from our Youth Board.
And on 7 October, the new Youth Board met for the first time at the awesome Maggie’s Centre at St Bart’s Hospital, London.
Established in 2013, the Trust Youth Board is an invaluable link between the young people and the full Board of Trustees. Its aim is to make sure when strategic decisions are made, what’s important to young people is put first.
The new Board is made up of six young people, who’ve all been supported by the Trust at different ages and stages of recovery.
They got together with Trust CEO, Frank Fletcher, and Youth Board founding member and now Trustee, Claire Amaladoss, to discuss the Youth Board’s role and priorities for the next 12 months.
Frank kicked the meeting off with the Chronic Fatigue anecdote. “The Youth Board told us we said the right things about Chronic Fatigue, but that fundamentally we didn’t get it,” he explained.
“So we listened, went away and learned about it and changed what we did to do it really properly. That’s real outcomes affecting young people that we simply wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”
The Youth Board agreed their purpose was to provide feedback and information beyond what is written in end of trip feedback forms. It’s about providing context that only young people with real lived experience can give.
As new Board member, Rosa Coker-Burnett, put it: “It’s about the stuff we, as volunteers, hear young people talking in the queue for the ice creams or BBQ.”
The Board agreed its role is…
- About THE FUTURE not the past
- A forum for discussion
- A way to test prospective ideas and evaluate ongoing value
Recruiting young people and improving diversity, both in terms of demographics and thought, were considered challenges the Youth Board could take a lead role in helping to address. They also want to explore how all young people can feed ideas into the Youth Board so it has true representation across the full age-range the Trust supports.
Frank concluded: “We want the Youth Board to be instigators of change. It’s the way we need to listen, learn and really understand what young people need. We’re delighted to have the new members on board.”
Now 23, new Youth Board rep, Sam Doré, first sailed with the Trust in 2011, having been diagnosed with advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma two years earlier, and started volunteering in 2015.
He added: “I feel so privileged to be part of this. It’s about having an impact at another level to being a volunteer. Here’s to the next chapter of making a difference to the young people who the Trust helps.”
Meet your new Youth Board!