For our March blog post Hannah Hier, former female Youth Mayor of Bristol, writes about her experiences championing the voices of young people in Bristol. Opportunities to shape diversity, inclusion and equality discourse are often hard to come by for young people, but through political involvement and groups, such as our Alphabets LGBTQ Youth Project, there is a growing movement of empowered young people ready to campaign, challenge and change attitudes.

If you’re a Bristolian do you feel you can express your thoughts and opinions, whoever you are? Do you feel your voice is heard by decision makers in your city?

Your answers to the above questions would be of interest to me, especially if you are a young person. I am Hannah Hier and from February 2018 to February 2019 I was the female Youth Mayor of Bristol. As part of my role I was the representative of young people’s voices to the Mayor and other key leaders in the city, like Councillors and business leaders.

I truly believe it’s vital that young people’s voices are represented and listened to when decisions that will influence our futures are being made. Key groups like the Bristol City Youth Council, and roles such as the Bristol Youth Mayors and UK Youth Parliament members are important, amazing actions the city has taken in achieving these goals. Groups like these must be made accessible to all young people in the city in order to guarantee everyone an opportunity to express their opinion.

Over my time as Youth Mayor I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing young people’s equalities groups in the city including: Freedom Youth, Listening Partnership, Mentality and Barnardos HYPE, making sure that everyone is included and no one is discriminated against due to their protected characteristics, something I know the Diversity Trust is very passionate about.

As well as this I was able to run a campaign with my fellow Youth Mayor, Jack Pitt, around the importance of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, Education) in schools. This meant we were campaigning for the curriculum to be inclusive and up-to-date, so that young people have the best education they can. As part of this we organised a PSHE Conference, where young people from different schools from around the city came to City Hall to take part in workshops around what they wanted to be taught in PSHE and the best ways they thought this could be carried out. Workshops were also held for the teachers with OFSTED and Jigsaw, discussing best practice and how to make sure their pupils are engaged and enjoy their lessons. Over my time as Youth Mayor I also worked with Bristol Women’s Voice to run girls conferences and speaking on panels at IWD (International Women’s Day). 

I really feel that the Youth Mayor role is a vital part of young people’s voice in the city and hope that anyone who reads this blog will take this opportunity to get involved! Whether that be joining your school council, starting your own campaign or even considering running for Bristol City Youth Council. If you would like to stay up-to-date with the current Bristol Youth Mayors work you can follow their twitter @BristolYMayors and if you would like to find out more information about Bristol City Youth Council and potentially how to join, visit the website here.

To keep up to date with her campaigning, you can find Hannah on Twitter & Instagram.

Credit: ‘Two non-binary students doing work together in class’ by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection.