I am excited to be joined today by the Senior Youth Service and Development Officer, Mrs. Nadine Henry, and Mr. Theo Wolffe, Chairperson of the National Youth Policy Working Group.
As the Minister responsible for the Office of Youth Affairs, it is an honour to share my first update on the progress being made to support, engage, and empower Bermuda’s youth through the National Youth Policy.
Bermuda’s National Youth Policy is a five-year plan centred on eight (8) crucial goals: safeguarding, education, tackling anti-social behaviour, employment, sports, health, civic engagement, and diversity.
In 2022, the Working Group was formed and tasked with providing recommendations for the eight (8) goals. To reflect the broad needs of Bermuda’s young people, the working group is made up of a diverse membership. With representatives from government ministries that have a youth focus or impact on young people, youth-focused organisations, and young people representing various community groups.
The Office of Youth Affairs works with the working group, and over the past year, they have focused their efforts largely on progressing goals one (1) and three (3) safeguarding and anti-social behaviour. These initiatives ensure that we are working to adapt and respond to the evolving needs of Bermuda’s youth.
In 2023, the Working Group:
1. Met regularly to present the research of sub-groups and to develop recommendations for each of the (8) policy goals.
2. Set up (3) sub-groups responsible for broadening discussions and providing alignment between goals to help increase clarity and focus.
3. Participated in research so that youth policy initiatives are aligned with international practices.
4. Hosted (3) youth forums to provide opportunities for Youth to speak directly to the Minister on topics of their choice.
5. Created (2) surveys to establish the current concerns and challenges youth are facing. With (1) survey being completed and the other (1) in progress.
6. Planned (2) conferences for 2024 to facilitate free expression, exploration, and discussion on issues and solutions relevant to and affecting young people.
7. Facilitated the first safeguarding workshop to drive implementation of safeguarding policies throughout public and private youth services and,
8. Focused on youth entrepreneurship.
I am pleased to highlight that in alignment with the National Youth Policy and National Safeguarding Policy, the Office of Youth Affairs established a standard for organisations receiving grants. All organisations that interact with youth must have a child safeguarding policy in place to protect young people’s health, well-being, and human rights.
I commend everyone who has played a role in supporting the National Youth Policy and look forward to working with the Office of Youth Affairs to see that Bermuda’s youth are engaged and empowered.
To better understand the efforts being made to support Bermuda’s youth, I encourage the community to read the National Youth Working Group 2023 Progress Report.
The report can be found online at www.youthpolicy.bm
At this time, I wish to welcome our Senior Youth Services and Development Officer, Mrs. Nadine Henry, and Mr. Theo Wolffe, Chairperson of the National Youth Policy Working Group, to share more about the progress of the National Youth Policy.
Senior Youth Development Officer:
Thank you, Minister, and Good Day Bermuda,
As the Senior Youth Services and Development Officer, I am grateful to be here today to share how the Office of Youth Affairs is working with the National Youth Policy Working Group to achieve the well-articulated goals of the National Youth Policy.
Collectively our focus is supporting Bermuda’s young people to have positive and productive futures. I am thankful that the Working Group is comprised of a balanced array of voices of highly skilled and committed individuals. Working with them helps fuel our efforts in shaping strategies across various fronts.
In 2023, recognising that organisations required support for establishing child safeguarding policies, in November 2023, the Office of Youth Affairs hosted an introductory workshop entitled, ‘Safeguarding Across Borders’ for organisations that work with children and young people. The event was productive, with several organisations participating. As we continue
to strengthen the work associated with this policy goal, we will work closely with members of the National Child Safeguarding Committee.
We also recognise anti-social behaviour continues to be a major concern in Bermuda, so during the fiscal year 2022/23, the Office of Youth Affairs provided grants to organisations that carry out the work to support youth to overcome anti-social behaviour.
These organisations included Albina’s Vision, Bermuda Overseas Mission, Bermuda Sea Cadet Corp, Bermuda Sloop Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Dibia DREAM Bermuda, The Family Centre, North Village Community Club, Raleigh International Bermuda, the Skills Development Program, and Windreach.
As well, our community centres are a key resources to support combatting anti-social behaviour and during 2023 the community centres offered over thirty enrichment programmes such as “Free Up Fridays” and “Boys and Girls Clubs” that were well received by young people and their families.
In 2024, (2) major initiatives that the Office of Youth Affairs and the National Youth Policy Working Group are focused on is the launch of a national survey among middle and senior school students and a (2) conferences.
The first of two (all day) conferences will be held at the end the month: Thursday 25th January for senior school students and Friday 26th January for primary and middle school students.
The conference is designed to give young people the opportunity to reflect on who they are and their place in society. Activities and break-out sessions will be designed in a way to allow young people to be vulnerable and speak on the topic diversity, equity, inclusion, being and belonging.
Online registration will open on Wednesday 17th January 2024 at 9:00am via
For more information, we invite the public to contact the Office of Youth Affairs at Tel. 295- 0855.
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