It’s not often I get to hang out with young people in my day-to-day job, so I was only too pleased to get the opportunity to take part in our Youth Co-operative Action project launch event at Federation House. Our fantastic new project, in partnership with Greater Manchester Youth Network (GMYN) and funded through the Co-operative Foundation #iwill Fund, will involve two cohorts of young people from Rochdale and Manchester who have experience of the care system.

The project...

The young people will be developing their skills as co-operators and community reporters and will be leading the charge in coming up with ways to help tackle youth loneliness, such as putting on ‘open mic’ nights and creating films to both raise awareness of loneliness as well as dispel the stigma surrounding the idea of loneliness. It’s tough to admit you’re lonely, but as Simon from GMYN told the group, it’s really normal for everyone to feel lonely at some point in their lives.

The day...

As well as ‘getting to know you’ games, the group learned about all the different parts of the project and even did a few rounds of ‘hangman’ using key words about community reporting to check everyone had been paying attention, which went down a treat as a ‘cool retro’ game.

My favourite part of the day was being in one of the groups who were competing in the trading game to design and market a bag – testing out co-operation versus dictatorship styles of managing a business. It took a while for us to sort out our roles and identify skills, as well as a fair amount of cheeky banter with the other team as we traded for supplies of paint, brushes and even staff time. As we drew rapidly towards the production deadline, the room was quiet as everyone hastily put the finishing touches to their designs and prepared their marketing presentations, including special offers and fashion tips.

Young person painting

The future...

What impressed me most was how the group, only a few of whom already knew each other beforehand, got stuck in and really threw themselves in to the activities. I’m sure that the rest of the project will be a lively affair and I can’t wait for the next time I’m allowed ‘out to play’!

Want to read more? You can see more about the project, including a video Cat, our project officer, right here.

Youth Co-operative action has been made possible with the support of the Co-operative Foundation’s #iwill fund.

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