Midlands Youth has lift off!

The long-awaited first Midlands Regional Youth Education Event took place on Tuesday (8 September) in Birmingham, under the headline of “The History of our Future”. A recurrent theme to the day was how what has happened in the past conditions what we do today, and how we try and shape tomorrow.

Young activists from six branches attended, together with more senior branch officers from those branches, Regional Retired Members’ secretary Mick Jones, and TFS Regional Organising Chair (and National Youth Committee member) Pesh Patel. It was a good mix of age and experience, and it was the youth members who rightly dominated proceedings, expertly chaired and shepherded into the debates by Regional Youth Chair Jimi Brown.

The format – a circle of chairs and a fine curry for lunch – made sure everyone felt included and able to participate. General Secretary Dave Ward featured in a round table discussion that ranged over many issues – including many personal stories (including from Dave himself) if how people were recruited to the union and then become active. This “personal testimony” style is one I like because I think it is particularly effective at getting people involved in the debate and allows many of issues to be set out.

The afternoon saw North West Regional Secretary and CWUHA founder Carl Webb talk about the work and importance of the charity. It is good that the next convoy will include two younger members – something that we all hope will be a regulator feature from now on.

After years of there being many young activists in the Midlands, but no real structure to link them up, it was really pleasing to see this event come to fruition. There is now a momentum and critical mass that should sustain activity in the Midlands and drive it forward. Regional Secretary Kate Hudson is already talking about a follow up exercise and there is scope for increased levels of participation.

All in all a very worthwhile day and a good springboard for the CWUYouth Women’s’ Event and the NYEE at the end of October. Well done to all involved.