Trustee talk: Wisdom of youth brings fresh views

Andy Ricketts interviews Angharad Price, chair of the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Forum.

I've been on the board of the Vale of Glamorgan Youth Forum since I was 18, and I have been the chair since the age of 22. I'm 26 now.

I became involved because I worked for the forum in my gap year, after I decided to take a break from my studies at the last minute. I saw the job advertised.

The local council gave me a bursary to support my year at the forum, during which time I was involved in setting up and registering it as a charity.

The Youth Forum aims to act as the link between young people and the people who make the decisions about any service that affects them.

I became the chair after an annual general meeting at which it was decided that, because the organisation was focused on young people, a young person should be the chair. There is just one other young person on the board as a trustee, but more will be joining at our next AGM. The board also includes the leader of the local council and the chief constable of the local police force.

When I first became chair it was difficult for me because I had been so closely involved in the setting up and day-to-day activities of the charity. I had to try to make it clear what my role as chair actually was, and I had to take a step back from my previous role as a member of staff.

Having a young person as chair helps to bring things back down to earth. Some of the other people on the board are busy, and young people do have more time to offer, which makes it easier for us to get involved.

I have sometimes found that some of the older board members are very stuck in their ways in terms of how things should be done.

As a young person myself, it helps that I can give the organisation a view of what young people think. I can also bring a fresh perspective and a different viewpoint.

It can be difficult to find the right balance between being a young person - that is, a person whom the organisation represents - and being the chair. I do try, though, to keep the meetings fairly informal.

My advice to other young people on becoming board members is not to be scared, and to get involved. A lot of young people are worried that it will not go down well if they say something, but I think it is important for them to understand that their viewpoints are valid.

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