Dartford Youth Council members elected as Deputy Members of Youth Parliament

Dartford Youth Council is very proud to announce that our members Kweku and Krish have been elected to join the UK Youth Parliament as deputy members, following a democratic election within the Kent Youth County Council.

Our members Kweku and Krish were some of the latest to join as part of our digital recruitment project last year where we gained a great number of aspiring members from different schools across the borough, at a time where diverse youth voice was critical in shaping and improving the lives of young people.

Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Kent, Krish Rana comments about his DYC journey so far:

“As a resident of Dartford, I saw the fundamental need to unlock the borough’s great potential and as an ambitious young man, the desire to empower and bring about change in local, young people’s​ lives. Thus, I initially registered for my local youth council (of which I was informed in my weekly school assembly) to bring about small yet meaningful changes in my local community.”

Krish Rana DMYP, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Kent and DYC/KYCC Member

Kweku Asafo-Adjei, our other Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Kent, had this to say about his experience with DYC:

“I am so overwhelmed with joy by the fact that I will be able to have a glimpse of what life is like in government. As a young student in Kent, I distinguished the fact that I need to do not only Kent but Dartford good and show that people that are from a BAME background can achieve highly. I therefore signed up to the local youth council and that has taken me to higher heights not only to represent Dartford on a county level, but to also represent Dartford and Kent on a national level. I am grateful for all support that the DYC has offered me and I am delighted to go on this journey and speak for the young people in Dartford.”

Kweku Asafo-Adjei DMYP, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Kent and DYC/KYCC Member

Both members participated in our ellenor Hospice fundraising walk, where we collectively raised an impressive total of £325.

They both then stood in elections to represent Dartford in the most recent Kent Youth County Council elections and successfully gained positions, later to be elected as DMYPs.

The UK Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11 to 18-year-olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. They enable young people to use their energy and passion to change the world for the better. To learn more about the UK Youth Parliament, click here.

“I am very excited to embark on this new journey, that will offer me insights into the workings of parliament and more importantly, the chance to express the voice of my peers, on a greater platform.”

Krish Rana DMYP, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Kent and DYC/KYCC Member

Dartford Youth Council Chairman Ricky Taing commented:

“It is a great honour to have Krish and Kweku not only serve the Dartford Youth Council, but also represent us in the Kent Youth County Council and ultimately, the UK Youth Parliament. Having served as outstanding local youth councillors, they will now also allow us to empower the voices of our constituents on a much larger, national platform.”

Ricky Taing, Chairman of the Dartford Youth Council

The Dartford Youth Council is a group of young people aged 18 and under who get involved within their community, work alongside the Dartford Borough Council, making a difference through campaigning and volunteering and gaining skills that could benefit them for the rest of their lives.

We are very excited to see the impact they will make in their new roles and would like to congratulate them on this great achievement.

By Isobel Ibironke

All information correct as of 24/03/2021

Dartford Youth Council’s Festive Fundraising Walk

Over the past few weeks, fourteen Dartford Youth Council members participated in a 1k+ festive fundraising walk to raise money for ellenor, a local charity providing hospice care for people of all ages whilst supporting families facing terminal illness in Kent and Bexley.

The walk was completed independently by members or with individuals within their household during the Christmas holidays. Members worked hard to find sponsors who donated money through the JustGiving page. The fundraiser was also advertised on the Dartford Youth Council website.

As part of ellenor’s Accumulator challenge, DYC members managed to raise £325 through all the generous donations provided by friends and family. ellenor is the only charity in Kent to provide hospice care for people of all ages. Their care includes pain and symptom relief, palliative care, end of life care, respite, bereavement support and emotional and spiritual care.

Well done to our members! 👏👏

“It was genuinely so lovely to do this, especially in these circumstances, hopefully there will be more to look forward to in the future!”

Rejina Ghale, DYC Member

Melissa Bourne, the local ellenor supporter engagement officer worked closely with us to make this walk possible.

“It is wonderful to see such an enthusiastic group of students from around Dartford keen to take on a fundraising challenge for their local hospice.  Having met the students virtually to give them some inspiration earlier this year, they decided on their challenge, set up a JustGiving page and were obviously fantastic at gaining sponsorship as they raised a brilliant £325. The festive walk was a brilliant way for all of the students to take part as they could do this on their own or as part of a family group.

The funds raised from the walk could help ellenor to provide six hours of physiotherapy to support a patient at home.

Fundraising has been extremely difficult this year, but the students were able to come up with a brilliant idea that they were able to adapt to suit the restrictions they faced.  I am very much looking forward to seeing what other innovative fundraising ideas they come up with over the next few months.”

Melissa Bourne, Supporter Engagement Officer ellenor

Dartford Youth Council is a group of young people aged 18 and under who get involved within their community, work alongside the Dartford Borough Council, making a difference through campaigning and volunteering and gaining skills that could benefit themselves for the rest of their lives.

Dartford Youth Council Vice Chairman Zapran Carlsson also worked closely as part of the fundraising initiative, commenting:

“It was a great delight to see so many of our members participating in the fundraising walk for ellenor. Together, we raised an exceptional amount of £325 in total, an amount far greater than what we had hoped for! Well done everybody!”

Zapran Carlsson, DYC Vice Chairman

All donations are much appreciated by the DYC Team and we look forward to more opportunities in the future. To donate to our JustGiving page, click here.

By Sanya Sunil

All information correct as of 08/01/2021

Dartford Borough Council streams Remembrance Service online

Thousands watched Dartford’s Remembrance Service held online, as a select number of invited representatives gathered at the War Memorial in Central Park to pay their respects.

Due to social distancing measures, no public gathering took place but people were able to watch the service from an online video stream provided by the Dartford Borough Council’s Dartford Together page.

Attendees gathered at the park at 10:40am and were then escorted to the memorial to lay their wreaths.

A two-minute silence at 11am gave pause to remember those who lost their lives during conflicts across the globe.

We invite you to watch a message from our Chairman Ricky Taing with a poem reading from our PR Officer Thomas Gebbett:

DYC Returns… 2020-21 First Meeting

Dartford Youth Council held its inaugural meeting of this academic year, which welcomed fourteen new members from across the borough, presented a speech from the Member of Youth Parliament for South East Hampshire and allowed members to experience a revised Executive Committee election process as a result of the everlasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting was opened by Vice Chair Ricky Taing where he welcomed both new and returning members, followed by an exciting icebreaker activity (through the magic of Zoom) where we had the opportunity to connect with each other and meet our guest speaker.

He then welcomed Gareth Boyes MYP from the Curriculum for Life Awards Scheme to discuss their outreach with schools – an initiative which wishes to accredit schools for their teaching of a ‘curriculum for life’ to gear students to life beyond secondary education. We discussed how we could work with the organisation, especially in promoting the scheme with the schools in our borough. To find out about the scheme and how your school can get involved, click here.

Ricky then invited Dartford Youth Councillor Sanya Sunil to raise the key points mentioned from the Dartford Young People’s Partnership Conversation meeting, which both members attended. The details of the upcoming Try Angle Awards, which Dartford Youth Council were recognised in at the county finals, were also shared with the members. The initiative works to recognise the efforts shown by young people in the county – to nominate a young person, click here.

The highlight of the meeting was the election process for the Executive Committee – due to the impacts of the pandemic, we unanimously agreed that it would be in the best interests of the serving members to offer them another year on the committee.

Whilst Events Officer Babafunto Ojo and Website Administrator Isobel Ibironke chose to continue their roles, Chairman Princess Nwafor and P.R Officer Danielle Okine retired, with Ricky Taing and Zapran Carlsson being newly elected to the roles of Chairman and Vice Chair.

We also welcomed former Vice Chair Thomas Gebbett to serve as PR Officer, with new execs Sanya Sunil as Secretary and Folabomi Ojo as Treasurer. To find out about our new execs, click here.

Reflecting on a successful meeting, newly-elected Secretary Sanya commented: “Getting elected this year was an honour. Over the past year, I have tried my best to participate in all the events DYC has to offer such as the Santa’s House event and the DYPPC meetings. Being a part of this experience has allowed me to express my opinions on certain issues but also the viewpoint of my peers. Furthermore, this opportunity will allow me to continue to play an active role in DYC.”

We must thank Princess Nwafor, Toju and Danielle Okine for serving on the Executive Committee as Chairman, Treasurer and P.R Officer respectively, and wish them the very best towards their future pursuits.

Dartford Youth Council are recruiting… join now!

Watch our video featuring Princess (Chairman), Ricky (Vice Chair), Zapran (Secretary), Danielle (P.R Officer) and Sanya (Member), where they discuss some of their highlights being on the council, and why you should join.

To join the Dartford Youth Council, complete this form and a member from the Executive Committee will shortly get in touch. For press enquiries or for other matters, please see our Contact Us page.

A Message of Positivity from the Chair and Vice-Chair

Us young people are, and will, continue to be vital to democracy – it shapes the future world that we will live in and recent events have highlighted that the voices of young people are arguably the most important, considering that modern-day political decisions will be the ones that will resonate in our lifetimes.

Yesterday was International Youth Day, with this year’s theme, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” – a particularly poignant one at a time when young people across the globe are uniting to combat global threats such as ongoing humanitarian crises around the world and the threat that climate change poses. This year’s theme seeks to showcase the means in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions.

This year’s International Youth Day seeks to put the spotlight on the following:

  • Engagement at the local/community level;
  • Engagement at the national level;
  • Engagement at the global level.

Dartford Youth Council’s continued strive towards empowering the voices of young people both on a local and wider scale has recently been recognised at the Spirit of Try Angle Awards, an awards initiative recognising hard work and dedication from young people within Kent.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continued to play a pivotal role within the local community, with our monthly meetings continuing online and a guest speaker from local charity ellenor in our most recent meeting discussing how young people can continue to fundraise during lockdown. As part of our wider community outreach, we also attended the UK Young Mayors’ Group (now International Youth Mayors’ Association) inaugural meeting which seeks to link youth-led organisations around the globe to collaboratively work towards joint projects.

Our elected members continue to be shiny young ambassadors for their schools, for the Kent County Youth Council, and in other capacities and there has never been a more important time to remind us that the current determination and perseverance shown by young people across the world will set the path towards a brighter and hopeful future.

We are looking to recruit a new cohort of youth councillors from all across Dartford and for the foreseeable future, revise our election process for both the full council and the Executive Committee – if you would be interested in applying to join the DYC, visit our contact form available here and we will get back to you.

For those getting their A-level or GCSE results in the coming weeks, members of DYC also share your concerns with many of us also in Year 11 and Year 13. We are interested to hear from you about how you are feeling about this, and would like to represent your voices.

Good luck to all of you and remember that if you don’t gain the results you were looking for, then there are still lots of other options going forward.

Please get in touch with us if you would like to, on vicechair@dartfordyouthcouncil.com

By Princess Nwafor and Ricky Taing

Vice Chair represents at Youth Parliament of Pakistan’s conference

Dartford Youth Council Vice Chairman Ricky Taing was privileged to have been invited to the Youth Parliament of Pakistan’s International Youth Parliamentary Conference, to discuss the current humanitarian crisis in Kashmir as well as talking about the role of young people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With over forty other guest speakers present, outspoken youth activists, politicians and media professionals gathered via Zoom to discuss the central topic of Kashmir. Our Vice Chairman reflected on the importance of technology in allowing the group’s collective aim of empowering young voices and championing youth voice.

We invite you to watch an overview of the live conference here:

Elections 2019-2020

Dartford Youth Council’s first meeting of this academic year welcomed new members from across the borough for their executive committee election, offering seven senior positions including Chairman, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Web Administrator, PR Officer and Events Officer.

Dartford Youth Councillors joined by their new executive committee of 2019-2020 – Credit: Isobel Ibronike, Web Administrator

The meeting opened with a welcome from former Vice Chair Tom Gebbett where all new members had the opportunity to learn about what the role of a youth councillor entails, as well as welcoming guest speakers from the Volunteer Police Cadets to talk about their role in the community.

The executive committee elections had candidates from a variety of schools and youth groups, all having a short speech with candidates voted for democratically by members of the youth council.

I am very grateful to have been elected as Secretary of the Dartford Youth Council for this upcoming year. I believe that this executive team consists of passionate representatives of the council, all striving for change in Dartford. I hope to further strengthen our links with the Kent County Council, the elderly and youth in Dartford, and also with the Volunteer Cadets who visisted us today – all in the purpose of making Dartford a safer and happier place to be.

Zapran Carlsson, Secretary of the Dartford Youth Council

We welcomed Zapran Carlsson, Babafunto Ojo and Isobel Ibronike onto the Executive Committee for the first time, as well as re-elected youth councillors Danielle Okine, Ricky Taing, Toju and Princess Nwafor.

Commiserations must go to all of the unsuccessful candidates and we thank those who have moved on to further education or have left the council to pursue their careers.

Dartford Youth Council thanks Omolayo Oluwadare, David Martin-Garcia and Tom Gebbett for serving the Executive Committee from the previous academic year.