TRIUMPH has recruited diverse a group of sixteen young people from across the UK to form our Youth Advisory Group. This group will play a key role in the development of the network and ensure that young people are able to be meaningfully involved in our events, activities and research. Our Youth Advisory Group met for the first time in June 2019 for a three-day residential meeting in Glasgow. Here our Youth Advisory Group member Isla reflects on the experience.
My name’s Isla and I’m 17 years old. I’m one of the Scottish members of the TRIUMPH Youth Advisory Group (YAG), and when I went to our first residential I wasn’t really sure what to expect! The first ever TRIUMPH YAG residential took place in June in Glasgow, which was an amazing opportunity for representatives from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to come together and get to know one another. I was pretty nervous because none of us knew each other at first and we weren’t sure what TRIUMPH was or what we would have to do, but we soon realised that we weren’t the only ones – academics, facilitators, support workers and young people alike didn’t know exactly what TRIUMPH was going to do and that gave us the opportunity to share what we wanted it to be and decide what it should look like. We got along very quickly – even though we couldn’t always agree what was an acceptable pizza topping or whether it’s a potato scone or potato bread!
During our residential, we thought about what kinds of resources and information we wanted to make available to young people and others who are interested in the TRIUMPH network, and how we would share these on our website and social media platforms. We came up with the idea for this blog and we now have an Instagram page (as well as some other great ideas which are still in the works!). We also wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know us as YAG members so that you can be sure the young people representing you are actually real and relatable, so we have taken some pictures and written some things about ourselves for the website.
Another session was spent sharing our views and experiences of the three research themes of the TRIUMPH network which are groups we felt needed a bit more support with their mental health, peer and friendship groups, and education and schools – we all had a lot to say about that one! After that we spent a well earned break exploring Glasgow and taking some crazy photos.
Because this was the first ever YAG residential, the TRIUMPH network and the people we were working with were all very new to us and a lot of time was spent familiarising ourselves with all of this. Now we’re ready to jump right into the research that is important to you, and after the great start at our first residential I can’t wait for the next one!