The BAME Youth Forum is a group of young people from across Wales . We are aged from 11 to 25 years old . It is a youth advisory panel for Race Council Cymru , who seek to contribute to, and steer the direction of, BAME young people in Wales. The Youth Forum aims to address issues of concern facing BAME young people and their families, to develop programmes and advocacy tools to respond to BAME young people’s needs. The Youth Forum also aims to meet with decision makers within Welsh Government and other agencies to feedback on the issues faced by BAME young people in Wales.
The National BAME Youth Forum met with the Deputy Minister Jane Hutt to discuss the issues faced by BAME young people in Wales particularly in regards to Brexit and the potential impact this would have on the future generations of BAME young peoplein Wales. There were some great discussions on the challenges facing young people post Brexit and exploring the possible solutions to overcome them. The forum identified numerous areas that are particularly challenging for BAME young people from:
· Employment Opportunities
· Racism and Hate Crime
· Stigma around Mental Health
· Recognition of BAME young people contribution to Wales
· Lack of creative and arts opportunity
· Drugs and Serious Violence
The forum discussed with the minister possible solutions and to moving the discussion forward, the forum welcomed the suggestion from the Minister around meeting other Welsh Government cabinet ministers to be able to help tackle the issues which are in their portfolio. We are looking forward to these upcoming meetings and thank the minister for making time to meet with our BAME youth forum.
The National BAME Youth Forum had over 60 young people from across Wales attend the first meeting of the year in February at the Royal College of Music and Drama. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff Cllr. Dan DeAth was invited to join us and inspire the young people as Cardiff’s First Black Lord Mayor, he was on a panel along taking questions from the children and young people along with our Welsh Youth Parliament Member Angel Ezeadum and Children’s Commissioner Advisor Ibby Osman who shared their experience of being involved in politics and tackling issues that are important to them and their communities.
Following the panel the forum then had a chance to take part in an extremely important Welsh Government Consultation on Poverty and how this impacts various communities and people in Wales. There were some really useful discussions around the tables on what are the particular challenges and opportunities regarding poverty facing young people. The Welsh Government officers were very impressed with the calibre of contributions and discussions and promised to be back in touch for future consultations.
We asked young people what some of the biggest issues are facing them growing up in Wales as a BAME young person so that we can begin looking at addressing them, these are listed below:
· Access to Youth Services
· Lack of Role Models
· Career Prospects
· Racism in School
· Drugs and Substance Misuse
· Hate Crime
· Keeping Fit and Healthy
· Dance and Creative Opportunities
· Mental Health
The forum aims to bridge the gap between young people, whose voices are often excluded from the debates on issues and services that matter to them the most and Welsh Government, Local Authorities and other stakeholders to come up with useful tools of tackling the issues identified.