Empowering Young People
to Make Choices for Life

About us Our Work

About Us

Enabling Young People to develop life skills, self confidence, self esteem and a sense of civic responsibility by supporting them to design, deliver and evaluate social action projects.


Gateshead Youth Council (GYC) has been around since 1979. We are youth centred, youth focused and youth led. We work with young people aged 11-18 (and sometimes their families) and carry a broad remit which is reflected in the diverse range of youth issues and activities that we are involved in on a local, regional, national and international basis. We are a registered Charity with a voluntary Board of Trustees and Chairperson. Our Board is made up of a range of professionals and people who have been part of GYC projects in the past. Half of the Board are under the age of 30. We also have representatives from our groups on the Board.


Well, we think Young People are given a rough ride and frankly don’t deserve it. Young People are amazing individuals who, with support, encouragement and opportunity, can achieve great things. The skills Young People develop while working on their projects are the soft skills that employers often seek, the everyday things we often take for granted but aren’t part of a school curriculum.


At GYC we develop projects and services in partnership with Young People, such as World Artists, Peace of GYC and Gateshead Youth Assembly, and we involve ourselves in issues concerning Young People. Our aim is to be a channel for Young People to express views and opinions collectively to Local Authorities or Government on issues concerning them. We also encourage those working with young people to develop skills, share resources and broaden experience to assist their community and organisation. GYC is an organisation which responds directly to the issues of organisations and young people in order to fulfil their needs. We also work with families where this facilitates further work with young people.


By giving Young People the opportunities and support needed to design, deliver and evaluate their own projects and ideas, whether large or small. Every project at GYC is delivered as a partnership between adults and Young People, with Young People having an equal role. We provide training and expertise, allowing Young People to learn, develop and then disseminate this to other Young People, most of our training is written and delivered by Young People who have already been through the GYC process. We support Gateshead Youth Assembly to research, design and deliver their own Social Action projects. We work with Asylum Seekers and Refugees settling in Gateshead by supporting parents to develop their language skills and engaging with the young people to develop their own projects.

Our Work

Gateshead Youth Assembly

Gateshead Youth Assembly is a group of young people, elected and nominated annually to serve as the ‘voice of young people’ in Gateshead. They are the strategic link between young people and Gateshead Council. The project is a partnership between Gateshead Council and Gateshead Youth Council but we are very clear, that GYA is independent and decides on its priorities with no influence from either organisation. We believe that this makes GYA strong and effective as a vehicle of and for young people’s engagement. GYA members undertake a training programme in November each year where they also elect their Executive Committee and plan their priorities for the coming year. They are wholly responsible for making these plans come alive. Support workers are there to enable and encourage, not to take over.

Human Rights

GYC has always been about challenging inequalities, unfairness and siding with the oppressed. In recent years this has started to include specific human rights issues, identified by young people as important to them. This has led the way to GYC supporting work with asylum seekers and refugees, Remember Srebrenica and Holocaust Memorial Day.

Remembering Srebrenica

In 2017 we were asked to take part in the Remembering Srebrenica memorial day. Our young people don’t remember Srebrenica so initially it was a steep learning curve to enable the groups to take part with a sound base of knowledge. From that GYC members have taken up the challenge to develop an annual programme of Remembering Srebrenica activities aimed at reminding people what happens when we allow hate to take over.

Work with schools

We can deliver bespoke training to schools around politics, democracy and global issues, for primary or secondary aged pupils. We also deliver sessions around ‘engaging children and young people in decision making’, to children, young people staff or Governors.

World Artists

The World Artist group grew out of a small part of the Juice Festival where a group of asylum seeking young people came together to develop some artwork to exhibit at the Great North Museum. This group really loved being able to get involved in wider cultural experiences so we worked with Juice to secure funds to keep it going so these young people could gain a Bronze Arts Award.

Arts Awards

Gateshead Youth Council is not what anyone would imagine to be a traditionally 'arty' kind of place so we have not, over the years, got involved in arts related projects apart from occasional theatre trips and wanders around The Baltic. In recent years though, we met with the people organising the Juice Festival for young people and they opened up an avenue we hadn’t imagined. Our young people are excellent volunteers and ambassadors for young people so they worked with Juice to deliver events during the festival as young volunteers. This has enabled more young people to access the arts, through routes they are comfortable with but which would not normally support access to arts and culture. As we know, being involved in arts and culture is a major factor in social mobility and developing aspirations so we wholeheartedly support this development.

Asylum seekers and refugee support

We started working with an Asylum seeker led organisation a few years ago, after some of our young people had met them at school and were very clear that this was an area in which we could help. We have developed strong working relationships with Peace of Mind Communities and the Samosa Sisters and have, through this, developed initiatives which support asylum seeking families. We realised that these families were hesitant to allow their young people to get involved in GYC projects and that we needed to develop relationships with the parents before they would trust us with their young people. This work has benefited us all. GYC young people, who are all socially aware and socially active, work with the asylum seeking families on issues affecting them all. They show the parents that at GYC young people are expected to be fully engaged with and responsible for their projects and that their children would have the same expectations. We are also very clear of the expectations around standards of behaviour and this helps us develop positive working relationship with the whole family. We have developed a range of regular and one off sessions around reading English, deciphering forms and customs, cultural differences in parenting, and simply making friends. This support has led to a significant increase in numbers of asylum seeking young people engaging with GYC projects, events and activities which further develops the social awareness and community activity of all of the Young People involved in GYC.

So what?

What Young People get out of being part of the Youth Council.

Self esteem and Self confidence

The very nature of the projects young people get involved with at GYC helps them to develop positive self-esteem and self-confidence. There is plenty of evidence to support the notion that volunteering is good for your soul as well as your community. At GYC we also offer bespoke sessions for young people around developing self-esteem and confidence and we challenge young people to get involved in their communities, whether through GYC or elsewhere as a way to open up their horizons and broaden their world view.

"When Sarah started attending GYA she was quiet and lacked confidence. It has been great watching her develop her own opinions while growing more confident, becoming more informed and making new friends." Sarah's Dad

Life Skills

Young People develop essential life skills as a result of being involved in GYC projects, almost by stealth. No one joins a group to ‘learn life skills’ but by virtue of getting fully involved in social action projects, making friends, meeting new people and developing projects, young people develop skills and confidence which can be transferred to any arena.


At GYC we tend to focus on general life skills, self esteem and confidence. Employability skills developed were mostly incidental but recently we have started to notice that our young people have a far easier time finding employment, whether full time or part time. They report back to us that the activites they have been part of at GYC have made the difference. Group interview activities don’t faze them, as we do them all the time, thinking on their feet works, because they are used to that. Being expected to fully participate and ‘get on with the job’ is something GYC young people are well versed in.

Good citizenship

At every stage of every project, event or activity, young people are expected to fully participate and contribute to the developments. We do this for a number of reasons but ultimately, it’s about young people developing into active, compassionate citizens of this world, caring about, and active within their our communities, challenging inequalities and striving to be the best version of themselves. We firmly believe that this will lead to more and more people being empowered to be active in their communities, and that has to be a good thing.

Emotional health, well being and resilience

Emotional well-being is one of the most important things we can support young people with. If their emotional well-being is sound and acknowledged, then all of the other life skills can find a place. We work with all of our young people on emotional wellbeing and resilience as part of the package of support all GYC young people receive. We firmly believe that volunteering in your community is crucial in developing the coping mechanisms and life skills we all need to thrive.


Board of Trustees

Andrew Adams

Board member

I joined the Youth Assembly back in 2012 when I was 11 years old, and I'm now finishing my time on the Youth Assembly having held the position of Chairperson for 3 years. I’ve loved every second of my time on the Youth Assembly, and have been involved in some amazing projects, been on some unforgettable residentials and met some incredible people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Knowing the impact it has had on me personally, and how it can have such a positive impact on other young people, I think it is very important to support the group and help them continue to do the work that they always have. I'm very proud to be a board member, and look forward to staying involved and supporting the organisation.

Benjamin Johnson

Board member

I got involved with GYC in my first year of 6th Form. It was a completely transformative experience giving me the strength and confidence to help with my studies and wider life. The reason I have joined the board of trustees is to help this wonderful charity to continue to engage with more young people and improve their lives as it has for me

Etta Beckreck

Board member
After a few years of false starts and occasional visits, I officially joined GYA in 2019 and became an active member right up until the 2020 lockdown, where GYA transitioned to being held online! Whilst this was difficult and lasted much longer than any of us wanted, it became somewhere I felt heard and really for the first time belonged. During covid, I joined the exec and then was voted in as Vice Chair (2021-2022) for what would be my final year before moving off for university. But like most of us on the board, I just couldn't keep away and joined the board of trustees to keep being involved with the work GYA and GYC do, which I can't wait to see!

Lucy Adams

Board member
I've been involved with GYC since 2008 when I joined the Gateshead Youth Assembly (GYA) at the age of 11. Upon leaving GYA in 2015 I joined the Board of Trustees before becoming Vice-Chairperson in 2018. The reason I stay involved with GYC is because it helped me so much as a young person, and I want to be able to give that opportunity to other young people. I absolutely love watching our young people grow and flourish at the youth council, and that's why it's so important. I love being part of the youth council, and after being involved for 11 years I just can't stay away from the place!

Mahnoor Mansoor

Board member

I'm Mahnoor, I started volunteering with Gateshead Youth Council in 2017. I got to know GYC through work with GYA and Peace of Mind and found it really interesting to work with very talented young people. After a year I was asked to join the board and I was very happy to accept.

Matthew Spry


I joined Gateshead Youth Assembly aged 11, and have been involved with Gateshead Youth Council for the eleven years since. In the time I spent on GYA, I held positions of vice-chair and Member of Youth Parliament for Gateshead. Since leaving, I have been a board member of GYC as, most recently, treasurer. GYC is a vitally important organisation for enabling young people to engage in social action, to empower young people to influence local decision making and most importantly of all, to support young peoples personal and social development in ways they themselves want. I am proud to still be a part of it

Mike Laugharne

Board member

Rachel Hamer

Board member

Over the past few years Rachel has worked on projects and large scale events in organisations across Sunderland, Gateshead and Newcastle focusing on family and schools engagement whilst developing her work with young people and also delivering lots of Arts Awards! Currently she is working as Project Manager for Skimstone Arts’ Reaching Out Festival and as Young People and Community Producer at Sunderland Culture as well as running the World Artists Project.

Rachel believes in meaningful opportunities for young people to take a lead to share their wonderful ideas and make a difference to the world around them whilst developing their own skills.

Richard Adams

Board member

All three of my children have benefited from their involvement in Gateshead Youth Assembly; through the experiences, and in terms of confidence. For my eldest daughter, it has shaped her higher education and career aspirations. My involvement as a trustee started when Gateshead Youth Council were due to move office in 2016 within the building and I agreed to lend a hand and went to measure up, ready to move furniture - somehow this was construed as volunteering to join the board of trustees. :)

Sophie Adams


I joined Gateshead Youth Assembly in 2015 when I was 11 and left in 2022 after holding the position of Co-Chair Person for 2 years and Chair Person for 1 year. GYA gave me so many valuable opportunities that would never have been possible had I not been involved with GYA. These opportunities have developed into further amazing opportunities and have given me skills that will benefit me in every aspect of what I do in the future. I have made the most amazing friends and the most unforgettable memories that I will carry with me forever. GYA became a second home and a second family and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.

Sue Adams


I became involved with GYC in 2011 when my youngest daughter first started Gateshead Youth Assembly. Andrew and Sophie have since joined GYA and I have to say, Gateshead Youth Assembly has been the making of them all. Because of this, I felt it was really important to support the Youth Council in any way possible. As part of the Board, I hope I give back as much as GYC has given my family!

Valerie Ender


Like many people, I'm still here because Gateshead Youth Council gets into your blood. After being a part time youth worker for over ten years I was lucky enough to be offered the post of Deputy Co-ordinator of GYC in 2004. Working here completely changed my views on good youth work and I haven’t looked back. Supporting and enabling young people to make social change and take part in social action is, in my view, the single most important role of a youth worker. There have been many changes in my role, not least affected by Government cuts but I just can’t leave GYC, so I'm still the GYC co-ordinator in my spare time and the Gateshead Youth Assembly co-ordinator with my work hat on.

Contact Us

12 Gladstone Terrace, NE8 4DY


0191 490 1900

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