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 P.R Officer, with new execs Sanya Sunil as Secretary and Folabomi Ojo as Treasurer. To find out about our new execs, click here.

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.

Try Angle Awards 2019

The Dartford Youth Council has been honoured for its benevolent work at the annual Try Angle Awards Ceremony at Princes Park, Dartford FC.

Try Angle Award
DYC Secretary and Treasurer, Ricky and Toju, joined by Chairman of Kent County Council and Dartford Youth Council Portfolio Holder, Cllr Ann Allen MBE – Credit: Dartford Youth Council

The awards were introduced in 1994 to raise the profile of young people in the community who really TRY, often with little or no recognition, to do their best.

Over the past year, Dartford Youth Councillors have given young people a voice as well as many new opportunities through their Monthly Meetings, their involvement with the Dartford Youth Advisory Group and representation at the annual Remembrance Parade and Dartford Festival.

Reflecting on an inspirational night, Toju, Dartford Youth Council’s Treasurer commented: “The awards night was wonderful; hearing the stories of all the winners and the struggles some had to overcome at such a young age shows the resilience and strength of young people nowadays. It also keeps me motivated to carry on the good work DYC does for those in the community of all ages and backgrounds.”

Joseph Try Angle Award
DYC Secretary Ricky Taing joined by Joseph Bullock, Dartford District Positive Intervention award winner – Credit: Ricky Taing, Secretary

Dartford Youth Councillor Krista added: “The Try Angle Awards was very inspirational as so many young people have done good things not only for themselves, but also for others too, and it was nice to see that they get recognition for what they have done.”

Other young people including artists, musicians, activists and other people who really TRY were recognised at the event, with winners coming from Sevenoaks, Gravesham and Dartford to celebrate at Dartford’s Princes Park.

For more details about the Try Angle Awards, click here.


Category Winner
Arts GYG Prop Committee, Gravesend
Music Matthew Wadey, Rochester
Sport or outdoor activities Chrystal Touch, Gravesend
Community action UASC Champions, Ashford
Good friends and young carers Megan Chandler, Gravesend
Personal development Horses 4 Health, Gravesend
Courage Keyleigh Nash, New Ash Green
Positive intervention Youth Naage, Gravesend
Rafal Kotowicz and Young Interpreters – Gravesend
Category Winner
Arts Oliver Winter, Hawley
Music Teddy Dann, Dartford
Sport or outdoor activities Bailey Eaton, Dartford
Community action Dartford Youth Council, Dartford
Good friends and young carers Ryan Reeves, Dartford
Personal development Elle Green, Swanscombe
Courage Annie Gale, Dartford
Positive intervention Joseph Bullock, Dartford
Category Winner
Arts Matthew Elgar, Sevenoaks
Sport or outdoor activities Zak Barton, Swanley
Community action Tia Batchelor, Four Elms
Good friends and young carers Daniel Gurney, Sevenoaks
Personal development Nizamuddin Oryakhail, West Kingsdown
Courage Jake Starr, Sevenoaks
Positive intervention Nia Brown, Edenbridge

The Chairman-Elect’s Civic Reception

Secretary of the Dartford Youth Council and Spirit of Try Angle Award finalist was invited by the Chairman of Kent County Council, Cllr Ann Allen MBE to perform at the reception of her Civic Reception.

Those present include the Lord Mayor of Canterbury as well as the mayors of other districts, the Deputy Lieutenant Stephen Kingsman, Honorary Aldermen, Kent County Council councillors, as well as members of Kent Youth County Council with the Chairman’s focus this year on working with young people.

Also present were representatives from the Young Lives Foundation – this is a dedicated children’s charity tirelessly working to improve the lives of young people through volunteering schemes, mentoring and more.

Spirit of Try Angle 2018

By Ricky, Secretary

Twenty-four finalists from this year’s Try Angle Awards were awarded prizes in recognition of their hard work and commitment at the Ashford International Hotel in the Spirit of Try Angle Awards celebration evening.

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The 24 finalists – Credit: Kent County Council

Various dignitaries and sponsors attended such as Bill Butler, who created the awards in 1994 to raise the profile of young people who really TRY, often with little or no recognition who try their best.

music ricky taing
Ricky Taing collecting the Personal Achievement in Music award – Credit: Kent County Council

To nominate someone for the Try Angle Awards 2019, please see the Try Angle Awards website for more details: https://www.kent.gov.uk/education-and-children/young-people/try-angle-awards

Jessica Austin

Gravesham finalist, aged 16

An outstanding and flawless performer and singer, who has grown in confidence on and off stage and in her support to the Gifted Young Gravesham (GYG) committee.

Marcus Stephens

Maidstone finalist, aged 17

An incredible screenwriter and actor who has written, created and produced a successful screenplay to reflect personal experiences of mental health issues and an insight of young people living with the reality of depression.

Nathan Williams

Canterbury finalist, aged 12

A truly inspirational artist with an amazing superpower who has found sanctuary in drawing and painting, going on to produce now some outstanding art pieces despite many daily challenges.

Archie Mitchell

Tonbridge and Malling finalist, aged 16

An outstanding volunteer and fundraiser for many good causes and supporting his local parish, bringing much needed life saving equipment and training to his community and more.

Mason Rickard

Gravesham finalist, aged 17

Not only an incredible host, but an aspirational leader and Chair for the H4U committee raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing, a voice on hate crime. Giving every waking hour to raising the profile of H4U and young people.

Oasis Academy

Swale finalist, aged 12-14

A dedicated group endlessly promoting dementia awareness, encouraging incredible friendships and support through their dementia cafes, presentations and activities to those suffering and their carers.

Abigail Stilwell

Maidstone finalist, aged 18

An extremely courageous person who heroically strives to overcome barriers in life, including physical to pursue her goals whatever pain she is in or whatever life throws.

Chloe Anne Manzi

Thanet finalist, aged 18

An extraordinary young carer who supports both parents, and her siblings who bravely stepped into action calmly to administering life-saving skills.

Freddie Newing

Ashford finalist, aged 18

An amazing and brave young man diagnosed with leukaemia, an ambassador for young people and a fundraiser raising money Cancer Research to support others.

Alena Bryen

Maidstone finalist, aged 12

A remarkable young person providing over 55 hours per week caring for others within her family across three different households – giving all her time and energy to support those she cares for.

Eloise Fryett

Tunbridge Wells finalist, aged 16

An amazing young carer, often in many difficult and frightening circumstances, relaying clear information to the emergency services. Always remaining calm and reassuring to all those around her.

Stephanie Coutside

Swale finalist, aged 14

An incredibly brave and supportive friend, that despite her own issues put everything aside to be the best friend she could possibly be and support her friend in her final months.

David Richardson

Ashford finalist, aged 18

A talented guitarist, musician and volunteer giving much time and support to others, to encourage them to do well at school in particularly music.

Owen Barnett

Thanet finalist, aged 18

A fine composer, way beyond his years specialising in choral music and studying now at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, completing regularly with composers worldwide. YouTube: CCGS Advanced Vocal Ensemble

Ricky Taing

Dartford finalist, aged 15

A much recognised musician excelling in piano, flute and general musicianship playing at a number of prestigious venues.  As well as encouraging others to take up a musical instrument.

Niamh Lynn-Devere

Canterbury finalist, aged 17

A resilient young person who despite many challenges including dyspraxia and grief, has shown unbelievable strength, determination and confidence to throw herself into everything especially performing arts.

Tahlia Davies

Dover finalist, aged 14

An incredible young person, aspiring others having turned her own life around.  Making tremendous efforts through sheer determination to succeed both at home and school.

Tyrone Waters

Maidstone finalist, aged 16

An incredible young person, aspiring others having turned her own life around.  Making tremendous efforts through sheer determination to succeed both at home and school.

Joshua Kilembeka

Dartford finalist, aged 18

An inspirational young person sharing his story to assist in the prevention of young people getting involved in gangs, drugs and weapons, and those within the criminal justice system.

Manel Gomez

Sevenoaks finalist, aged 15

A remarkable positive person who ensures young people have a voice and a safe place to speak out about their sexuality and other issues that impact on their lives.

Nathan James

Canterbury finalist, aged 15

A determined and driven young person who does so much to raise awareness for mental health and promote positive well-being for young people, via online blogs, social media and many other creative projects.

Joshua and Henry

Maidstone finalist, aged 15 and 12

Both are keen and highly successful footballers for Maidstone United Raiders Disability Football Club, winning cups, medals and leagues as well as overcoming many challenges.

Kaylea Fryer

Folkestone and Hythe finalist, aged 17

A modest sportsperson and outstanding goalkeeper for Folkestone Invicta Under 18’s squad, and so happens to be a black belt in karate chosen to represent Team GB in the world championships, with possibility of Olympic selection.

William Hunt

Dover finalist, aged 15

An all-round sports star focusing on his passion for Rugby, playing and captaining for The Saracens. Captains a number of sport disciplines and successfully competing in athletic competitions also in 800m and 1500m events.