Posted on: Friday 7th February 2014
Paul Gillespie from North Ayrshire has been involved with the CashBack for Communities Youth Work Fund as a Panel member for, for two years. Now aged 19, he’s taking some time out from his busy schedule to explain a little about his role as an assessor.
How did you get involved?
I was told about the opportunity through my local youth worker and wanted to make a difference to the community. This is something that is really close to my heart. Making North Ayrshire a safer and happier place for all generations.
The CashBack for Communities Youth Work Fund is absolutely fantastic and it is amazing to see it helping so many groups all around Scotland. I am really proud to be a part of this panel as I get to see the difference it makes to others.
Do you think it is important to be represented on the panel?
Definitely YES!! The overall panel for CashBack is definitely the best I have been on. It's great to see the public being able to voice their opinions and having such a great support from a national service such as Police Scotland and local council Youth Workers and also Young People. Sometimes adults think they know what is important to young people but the best people to ask are the young people. By having young people on the panel they will voice their own opinion and that of their peers.
What do you think your involvement brings to the panel mix and decision making?
I have had the privilege of being involved in many Youth Groups through North Ayrshire Council and this has helped me to develop my communication and listening skills which I always bring to the panel as I feel it is important that each person gets the opportunity to say what they feel of the application and I also feel it is important for the person speaking to be given everyone's full attention and points made / views taken into consideration and listened too.
I have also had the opportunity to be part of a National Youth Organisation YouthBank Scotland. They have also been great contributor in my communication and listening skills. Through the decision making courses and activities these have greatly helped me help my local authority in difficult decision making and I also bring this to the panel meetings. I feel that everyone has the same involvement as we are all there to see our own community benefit from the decisions we make.
Has your involvement benefited you in anyway?
It has helped me to see what a great area it is I live in and see what fantastic work organisations and individuals are doing for the community. It has greatly helped in my confidence to speak to high authority and government officials, something I would never have dreamed of doing. It has also made me look at the things that local authority need to improve on and to see the changes that have already been made.