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From Cardiff to Edinburgh – watching the Wolfson Young People’s Advisory Group in action

24 October 2022

Wolfson Centre's Public Involvement Officer Emma Meilak reflects on her time away with the Wolfson Young People's Advisory Group

Three people standing with a yellow pop-up banner smiling at the camera

Grateful for my waterproof coat and a couple of extra layers, Tammie, Nathan and I landed in a very wet and windy Edinburgh the night before the event.

The journey from Cardiff had given us a great opportunity to get to know each other a little more, this being the first time we’d met face to face.

It was also the first time that members of ALPHA and the Wolfson Centre Young People’s Advisory Group (YAG) had got together and it was lovely to see the young people chat together and make new friends.

A line of young people with luggage standing in front of Edinburgh airport with giant letters spelling Edinburgh

The next day the sun shone and the event itself was everything we thought it would be …. and then some! What a privilege to be in the same room as so many inspiring young people and like-minded public involvement advocates.

Following a very tasty lunch and compulsory Tunnocks Caramel Wafer, the afternoon was spent listening to a number of inspirational young people present their work.  The work of YL Project Hope, a youth-led project set up to help combat youth loneliness during C19 and Young Changemakers, a programme aiming to engage young people in projects aimed at tackling mental health inequalities in racialised communities, were personal highlights for me.

But of course, the biggest and best highlight was watching Tammie and Nathan take the stage and absolutely smash their presentation! During their talk, entitled ‘Donate your mind to research’ they spoke passionately about the work they do here at the Centre and why it’s so important to them.

A young man and woman on stage in front of a large screen which reads Donate your mind to research

The talks were followed by a stall and networking session and it was great to see Tammie and Nathan strike out on their own and do some impressive networking! I spent an insightful 20 minutes talking to one of the Triumph YPAG about what co-production really means and left with some takeaways to think about implementing within our own group.

The first day closed with a fascinating panel discussion.  Amongst the many interesting comments, the one that really stuck in my head came from Jacob, one of the Triumph young people.  During a conversation about representation, Jacob talked about the importance of ‘going into a young people’s space’ to engage them in research. I’ll certainly bear this in mind during any future recruitment we look to do for the Wolfson YAG.

Not being a young person anymore, I left Tammie and Nathan to enjoy the evening’s activities and very much enjoyed watching the ceilidh videos they sent me from the comfort of my sofa. Chaotic but fun seemed to be the consensus.

We enjoyed every minute and are very grateful to Triumph for inviting us to such a fantastic event – so how much planning and hard work had gone into it. I left feeling uplifted and inspired, having made lots of new connections and taking lots of notes. A truly brilliant couple of days!


Emma Meilak is the Public Involvement Officer for the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health

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