Last week, we brought Foyer leaders, frontline staff and young people from across the north and central regions together in Leeds for a day of catching up, creativity and community. Its name? The Great Northern Gathering.

Staff had chance to discuss what’s going well, what’s challenging them, and what’s new and innovative in their Foyers, and the presence of youth voices brought a new kind of energy to the conversations being had. As three regions were represented, everyone met and chatted with people and services they had never met before. We hope everyone came away from these best-practice discussions with sparks of ideas to take back to their own Foyers.

The main focus of the day was to create a storyboard for a video about what a Foyer is, and what makes a Foyer different. The people in the room voted overwhelmingly to aim the video at young people, with the general public and local community counted as important audiences too.

After a brainstorming session, we came up with a selection of punchy lines that capture how Foyers:

  1. Make young people feel safe
  2. Inspire staff and young people
  3. Build a sense of belonging
  4. Create opportunities

These bite-size phrases sum up how both staff and young people feel about the unique spirit of Foyers, and lay out the story we want to tell to the rest of the world.

The day culminated in an inspiring storytelling session as each group talked through their storyboard ideas for a film that shares the essence of Foyers with young people, the community and the public. It was tough at the top, but we voted on a winner and a very close second place. Congratulations to the team behind ‘Where do you want to go? Let’s go there together’ on your winning storyboard! And a special mention goes to ‘A place to learn’ for their fantastic timelapse idea.

We will look to start making this film with young people at the forefront of production in early summer. Get in touch if you or any young people would like to be involved! We’ll also look to hold a similar session with our southern network soon.

The Foyer Federation is registered in England and Wales under company number 2699839 at Work.Life, Core Building, 30 Brown Street, Manchester, M2 1DH. The charity is registered under charity number 1040482.
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