Let's Talk About Y - Youth Podcast

June 2023

Let’s Talk About Y is a youth-led podcast from young people at YMCA Lurgan, that aims to encourage and promote the voices of young people through digital skills.

Young people are central to all the work of YMCA Lurgan. We are passionate about creating safe, caring spaces for young people to come as they are, learn new skills, and be exposed to new experiences and opportunities through personal and social development methodology. We are committed to making a positive impact in the lives of children and young people.

Inspired by the initiative from YMCA Cork and their Sustainable SleepOver Club podcast, we went on a journey with local young people to promote youth advocacy and encourage their voices to be used, understood and properly heard. 

Approximately 18 months after the idea was born, we had our first group together! After purchasing some recording equipment and multi-media training, the young people worked together with youth worker Rebekah, to better understand and articulate what the podcast was for, as well as creating the podcast name and designing all the graphics and promotional content.

Listen to the Let’s Talk About Y podcast introduction here

Since then the young people have created a podcast that is completely youth-led and promotes the views and opinions of young people around issues that they face on a daily basis for the benefit, support and inclusion of other young people. 

Let’s Talk About Y is created by young people, for young people.

Their first episode is titled Healthy Chats: Mental Health explores issues around exam pressures, resilience in young people and steps to promoting positive mental health it is available now on Spotify 

At Lurgan YMCA we believe that young people have the right to learn to belong, develop a sense of identity, become citizens, and make choices and share ideas. In the process, they gain the knowledge, skills, confidence and affirmation needed to work with each other and with adults in broadening our ideas of democracy.

Participating with one another is a natural experience which happens in youth work day-to-day, but in order for us to nurture and develop young people, effective participation must include meaningful opportunities, resources and means of support, enabling young people to remain engaged and exercise influence individually and collectively.

One way we do this is through the implementation of the Lundy Model into practice. The Lundy Model is a framework for the depiction of Article 12 UNCRC; every child has the right to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously. The framework outlines 4 critical elements; 

  • SPACE: Children must be given safe, inclusive opportunities to form and express their view
  • VOICE: Children must be facilitated to express their view
  • AUDIENCE: The view must be listened to
  • INFLUENCE: The view must be acted upon, as appropriate

What does this look like in practice 

This mission and framework are important but what does this look like in practice? 

Some examples of this in practice include;

  • Actively listen to young people, engage them in conversations and ask questions about their thoughts, ideas and experiences.
  • Validate their thoughts and beliefs when appropriate
  • Challenge their thoughts and beliefs in a non-judgemental way
  • Encourage them in group work activities and planned, long term programmes to ensure they understand the importance of working together as a team and making positive change as a group as well as individually
  • Use these conversations to base your targeted work on, ensuring all work is young people led and based on the needs of the young people
  • Give opportunities to work in a leadership role to enhance personal capabilities

As well as Youth Forums which allow; 

  • To create space for young people to participate in the design and/ or delivery programmes or activities for self and others, including evaluation
  • Involve young people in projects to their maximum ability and potential
  • Nurture and develop young people to positively influence others, advocate on behalf of others, take on a representative role role within the YMCA and beyond, in their communities

These key aspects of YMCA Lurgan provided the foundations for Youth Advocacy and Youth Voice in the YM. This has been supported through opportunities with YMCA Ireland and the shared experiences and resources that are on offer across the organisation. 

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The Impact 

The impact of this value base, skills and methodology of working with young people has provided a space and opportunity for young people to build transferable life skills that are beneficial in an ever growing multimedia, socio-economic environment.

Key knowledge and understanding of how these different media tools operate, from visual to vocals, how to create something from scratch while also developing a strong understanding of what it means to be the voice of their peers and age group while representing the organisation. These are all strong personal and social development skills that the organic development of the podcast has allowed to to grow and flourish within young people alongside increased confidence and self-esteem, a greater sense of belonging and community through commonality while providing a place for young people to bring real life issues, impacting them, to be valued and heard. 

One of the key messages and impact we hope for as an outcome with this programme is for young people to recognise, feel self empowered and affirmed that they all have the potential to make a positive impact and difference in the world around them. 

Aoileánn Conway
Centre Leader In-Charge
YMCA Lurgan