Northern Ireland Youth Forum
|Motto||Promoting the Voice of Young People|
The NIYF is a youth led organisation that lobbies, advocates, promotes and fights for the rights of young people in Northern Ireland. The primary aim is to build the confidence and awareness of all young people so that they can assert their rights as listed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Northern Ireland Youth Forum was created by the Department of Education in 1979 to ensure that young people’s opinions were heard and valued by government. As part of the Youth Sector, the Youth Forum was asked to help young people engage in decision-making about the delivery of services such as youth clubs, local youth councils, as well as in wider society.
Today the Youth Forum’s mantra is ‘promoting the voice of young people’, and it works with young people across Northern Ireland to ensure they are able to fully participate in making decisions within their community.
The Youth Forum is a member-based organisation, which means that it gets its direction and focus from the young people it is created to work for. Membership is open to all young people living in Northern Ireland aged between 11 and 25 who support the core values and aims of the Youth Forum.
Members are encouraged to take an active role in the life of the organisation, including standing for election to the Executive Committee. Members also receive our monthly email newsletter ‘eBumpfh’ that contains information about current work, training opportunities, and exciting events.
Members are encouraged to keep in touch with the Membership Development Worker to inform them of the work that they are doing in their local area or youth club. Through the online discussion forum Members can talk about issues that they care about, feed into ongoing consultations that are managed by the Youth Forum, and make friends with other Members.
Areas of focus
The forum lists five main focal points of its work, detailed below.
- Working with young people
- Speaking up, fighting for and making change in Northern Ireland
- Getting young people involved in the work of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum
- Getting the message out from politicians, organisations and the forum
- Looking to the future and constantly improving the four aforementioned focal points.
The Executive Committee set the strategic direction of the organisation, and are elected every two years from within the membership. It is composed of 15 prominent members of the organisation. They work with staff at an annual strategic planning residential to create the work plan for the following year. The Executive then meet with members twice each year to inform them of the key work of the organisation, including at the Annual General Meeting.
Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting is the organisation's largest regular conference, which all members are invited to attend. It gives the membership a chance to consult with the executive committee on the direction which the forum will be taking in the year ahead.
In order to facilitate the work done by the forum, subgroups are created thus giving a greater sense of focus to members. Each subgroup contains one or more members of the executive committee who feed back information at executive meetings to strengthen internal communications. Current subgroups include:
- External affairs
UK Youth Parliament
The NIYF also fills the position of a regional body of the UK Youth Parliament; as such it remains involved in national and local campaigns. Currently the forum holds positions on the Procedures group and Board of Trustees of the UKYP.