Monday 11 July saw scores of young people attend the first ever National Youth Summit. The full-day event, organised by Co-ops UK, was held in Manchester, and provided an opportunity for everyone in attendance to learn about co-operatives and explore radical solutions to the issues impacting young people.

With inspirational speakers including the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, hands-on sustainable fashion workshops, social media training and more – the day was jam-packed with learning opportunities.

National Youth Summit attendees with Daniel Cox

The College was delighted to host an interactive session entitled ‘Empowering under-represented voices through radical movements’ which looked at how co-operation can be used to create meaningful social action through values-based ethical practice.

The session was delivered by Daniel Cox, our UK Projects Manager, and Stacey Salt, who recently joined the College as Adult Education Tutor. The session focussed on co-operative values in action, examining how young activists from around the world championed causes in their communities and how social action can be used to address social issues. The session was packed, which meant that there was plenty of discussion, debate and sharing of ideas.

Daniel explained:

The session served as a brilliant example of how capable and engaged our young people are and just how passionate they are about addressing the social issues affecting them and their communities. The readiness to learn about co-operatives, a concept new to many, is testament to how receptive they are to embracing new ways to change their world.

National Youth Summit attendees

Stacey told us:

This was my first face-to-face session with the Co-operative College and I was blown away by the positivity and creativity of every single young person in that room. All of them had a genuine desire to work together to make this world a better place. It’s impossible not to feel inspired by that!

At the end of the session, the attendees were asked to make a pledge – however big or small – that will help drive the change they want to see in their communities. With pledges ranging from ‘Buying one item for the food bank every time I shop’ to ‘Start conversations with other young people about educational equality’ – it’s clear that the range of issues concerning young people are wide and diverse. However, with events like the National Youth Summit helping us to bring co-operative education to the next generation, we’re confident that the future looks just that little bit brighter!

Find out more about the full programme of events that took place here.