Youth Voice Manager promises young people will be at the heart of Leeds 2023 year of culture

Laura Rakotonirina joined LEEDS 2023 just a month ago but is already getting stuck into her role as Youth Voice Manager.

By Alex Grant
Sunday, 12th June 2022, 11:45 am

Here she tells the Yorkshire Evening Post about why young people will be at the heart of LEEDS 2023 ahead of a Youth Summit taking place next month.

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I have been working collaboratively with communities and specifically with young people for several years through my previous jobs at the Beatfreeks and with the Geraldine Connor Foundation, each gave me a real appetite to work with young people and I’m so excited to be able to bring that to LEEDS 2023.

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She tells the Yorkshire Evening Post about why young people will be at the heart of LEEDS 2023. Picture: Simon Hulme.

It is so important that young people are engaged with and an active part of next year’s cultural festival because we want everyone in Leeds to be involved and it’s my job to make sure this happens, that there is a strong youth voice across the programme that reaches everyone across the city. LEEDS 2023 will create opportunities for young people to be heard and for them to play a significant part in the year.

This could be leading on specific projects, helping get the word out about events or just coming along and taking part, it’s all essential to make 2023 a year to remember.

Next month we are inviting young people and local organisations to a Youth Summit to kick start a process of listening and sharing ideas. Taking place at Leeds Playhouse will be workshops, creative activities and panel discussions where we will chat about what culture means to young people.

The Summit will help LEEDS 2023 and local youth organisations understand what matters to young people so we can work together to continue to build on the broader cultural offer for young people in the city.

This investment in our young people will not only help us create events that people will want during 2023 but also play a huge part in making sure cultural projects are accessed by every young person in the city next year and beyond.

The Youth Summit will result in a manifesto, created to highlight the hopes of all those involved for 2023 and into the future. It will be a call to action and we hope to see organisations sign up to be part of it. I am excited to see how Leeds' young people want to see organisations support and collaborate with them in the future.

This generation of young people will lead cultural changes in the city in the years ahead They will be the ones that most benefit from the legacy from LEEDS 2023 and involving them from the start gives them the chance to shape the year and become part of the cultural landscape of the city.

We will support them all the way, offering the chance to boost skills and explore ways into the sector whether as creator or participant, making the most of this opportunity and all the brilliant potential that will come from being part of it all.

Spaces for organisations as well as for young people to attend from high schools, colleges, universities and individually are limited to attend the summit in July at Leeds Playhouse, check www.leeds2023.co.uk for updates and details on how to apply.