The main focus of the Youth Council’s campaigns this year are centered around the results from 2019’s Make Your Mark results.

The primary focus of the Youth Council’s campaigns is based on the theme of protecting the environment. We want to look to campaign to propose solutions primarily on a local and individual level. The Youth Council want to promote solutions rooted in the seemingly mundane daily actions of individuals, as well as the day-to-day conduct of various organisations. This will be the focus of the campaign so that we may reduce the impact of local pollution and littering. There are a large range of schemes that the Youth Council has planned, that involve schools, local businesses as well as local council wards and their inhabitants. There are two main environmental campaigns that the Youth Council wishes to focus on in the coming months. The first is called ‘The York Eco-Brick Campaign’ which is an exciting new local project, involved with the global Eco-Brick initiative. The Eco-Brick drive involves the creation of sustainable building resources from non-recyclable plastic, to be distributed accordingly across the global – contributing to valuable infrastructure internationally. We wish to coordinate this campaign with schools, and experiment with new mediums for future campaigns – such as videos and digital art (see Outreach and Engagement).

Our second major environmental campaign, which has for now been put on hold due to the COVID-19 situation, involves the collaboration with a local business cooperative known as ‘Make It York’ to implement a scheme with encourages customers to re-use bags, cups etc. at local businesses – and receive a small discount. Schemes like this have been put to work in cities like Leeds and have been hugely successful, and the Youth Council began to put the pieces in place for the launch of the ‘York Environment Card’ before the lockdown, and current the launch date for that scheme is unfortunately up in the air.

In addition to this, the theme of mental health is important to our campaign efforts, especially within schools. The maintenance of good mental wellbeing is one of the greatest struggles amongst young people today, with more than 1 in 4 people suffering from some form of poor mental health, and 1 in 10 suffering from a form of diagnosable mental illness. The issue was also voted as being one of the greatest priorities for a national campaign in the ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot – there is a very palpable sentiment that this is an issue that needs tackling. The Youth Council will be looking to work with local health and social care executives, and with Minding Minds to make sure that schools have their own mental health awareness groups. The Minding Minds scheme was a charity-ran scheme which the Youth Council worked on, encouraging schools around the city to create their own mental health awareness groups, and organise their own respective campaigns. The scheme was largely successful, however many schools did not take part, so for future action – we want to get as many schools involved as possible.

As a final point of campaigning, the Youth Council are working with Laura Brown to encourage the City of York Council to implement ‘York’s 12 Moves’ which is a contingency plan that was partly arranged by the Youth Council to make York a more inclusive city. The 12 Moves plan has begun to work with local schools across the city, and the Youth Council is in the process of gaining support for the plan with various members of the Equalities and Communities teams, and from Council Executives. The 12 Moves plan helps the YC to deliver on their mandate to ‘tackle hate crime’, which was another demand from the ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot from 2019.