On Monday 11th March, DCGS selected six students from the Student Senior Leadership Team to represent the school at the Bucks Youth Summit 2024 at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury. I was one of the lucky few to be chosen and in this article I will be writing about my experience of the day.

Now in its second year, this event provides a platform for around 250 students from schools in Buckinghamshire to share their ideas and provide feedback on important issues that young people are currently facing. The event has grown a lot from its launch last year when only 142 students took part.

The topics or ‘Conversation Spaces’ at this year’s summit included: Mental Health, Relationships with the Police, The Corner for Creative Thinking, The Political Space, The Vape Space, The Green Space, The SEND Space, Cost of Living Crisis. Each student was given the opportunity to share their view in four group discussions. I got to voice my opinion in The Cost of Living Crisis, The Vape Space and The Political Space.

All four of the sessions I took part in were eye-opening and I gained a lot of insight from the day. The most interesting discussion for me was The Political Space as I found it fascinating to hear the different views from other students in my group, many of which I wouldn’t have considered myself.

The Vape Space session was really engaging - the leader of the session worked with the police and shared how he was actively involved in identifying criminals, carrying out newsagent raids and detecting drugs. He told us that vapes are illegal if the tank capacity is more than 2ml, the nicotine volume is more than 20mg and they contain more than 600 puffs.

He also warned us that vapes are now being laced with drugs, which made me feel concerned as so many young people are vaping without properly understanding the dangers and the harm it can do to them.

Some of the questions were quite heavy and the organisers provided a quiet space for those who felt overwhelmed. Personally I didn’t need to use the space but could see how important it was for some people to take time away from the conversation, particularly if it was a topic that had affected them directly or was a sensitive subject.

In conclusion, the event was a great success and hopefully it will continue for years to come. The Youth Voice Executive Committee is always looking for more people to get involved, details can be found at www.youthvoicebucks.co.uk