Harborough District Children And Young People’s Charity (HCYC) is a small charity focused on filling locally identified gaps in the provision of services for children and young people in the Harborough District.
In 2015 £2,939 was awarded from Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation’s Leicestershire Fund to fund HCYC’s Speak Out Magazine.
Speak Out Magazine is a publication produced by young people, for young people in the Harborough District. The project supports a team of young people to develop their ideas, writing and design skills around themes and issues that are important to them. The team works on all aspects of the production of the newsletter from choosing a theme, researching and writing, design, editing each other’s work and distribution.
Peer support and self-help are integral to this process. Speak Out Magazine also invites and encourages contributions from a wide range of projects and partners including young Gypsies and Travellers from the ‘Travelling Forward’ Project and other rurally isolated youth clubs.
Each edition of the magazine is distributed to young people through schools and youth centres locally. Copies are also made available to District Councillors, District and County Council staff and others in key roles where the views of local young people need to be heard and considered.
Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation’s funding has enabled HCYC to facilitate the Speak Out Team and its wider young contributors to produce high quality magazines on a number of issues. This has included the impact that news and media have on young people’s lives; young people and the technological revolution and embracing difference and diversity.
The magazines have been distributed across the Harborough District to schools and youth organisations as well as posted on the web. Additionally, the young Speak Out Team have been supported to take part in local consultation activities and in organising a celebration event to mark the end of a local project, of which Speak Out Magazine has been a lasting legacy.
Mel Gould, project facilitator said, ‘Outcomes for those involved in the project included: increased teamwork and group cohesion; improved social skills including supporting and encouraging one another when stuck with writer’s or artists block and increased confidence in expressing and writing about their own opinions and experiences.
One particularly anxious member recently had the courage to write about their own anxiety issues for an article on the stigma of mental health. Outcomes have also included improved decision-making skills; improvements in time management and meeting deadlines; improved academic skills such as literacy; improvements in self and team-reflection and accepting and offering feedback sensitively.’
Bebhinn – 15, a Speak Out team core team member said, ‘Looking through my diary, I realised it had been over a year since I joined Speak Out! I’d always read the magazine but had been too nervous to email and get involved. However, one year later I’m glad that I did! Everyone is really friendly and I soon felt like part of the team (and the snacks are great too!) I’ve definitely improved my confidence and got to take part in so many new activities.’
Callum – 14, also a Speak Out Remote Core team member said, ‘It’s interesting to know what my peers think in the magazine and it’s good to feel like I’ve had a positive effect on the magazine’s content.’
If you would like to set up your own fund that works to support charities and groups in the local community, contact Katy Green, Chief Executive at Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation: firstname.lastname@example.org & 0116 2624 916.