THE BLOG

Why I'm Helping Launch the BBC Radio 1 Youth Council

14/07/2015 09:45 BST | Updated 13/07/2016 10:59 BST

I'd always watched Radio 1's Teen Awards, but never thought it would be me up there. I'd been doing lots of work in the community since I was about 4 (I'd been in the UK Youth Parliament and Deputy Lambeth Youth Mayor in 2012). I'd also founded my own charity - One Big Community - a London-wide coalition of young leaders and youth groups. But even so I was really shocked when I heard that I had won a Teen Hero award in 2013!

I was 13 when I won the award, and what humbled me was how many people came up to me not just at the awards ceremony but afterwards as well, to tell me that I was doing a good job and to offer to support and to mentor me. It really helped with my confidence to know that I had the support of lots of people.

In 2014, I was asked to help judge the Teen Hero nominations for that year. I found myself in a room with pop stars, journalists and Radio1 presenters like Fearne Cotton and Grimmy discussing the nominations and arguing for different people. It was great to be involved, but I still felt that there was a gap between the Teen Awards and other opportunities to involve young people in the radio station. It made me think that it isn't enough to talk about young people, and broadcast to young people - young people need a greater say in the decisions made at Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

So I asked for a meeting with Ben Cooper, the Controller of Radio 1 and 1Xtra, and pitched my idea of a Youth Council. I was surprised that he made time for me, but also scared and nervous before the meeting. I didn't know how he would take it and whether he would like the idea of someone telling him what to do! Luckily he loved the idea and now it is actually happening!

We are going to set up a Youth Council which meets four times a year, and is made up of 10-12 young people who review stuff that has gone out on Radio 1, 1Xtra, BBC iPlayer and YouTube and tell the teams at Radio 1 and 1Xtra what we really think. Council members will be specially selected in the first year, and will be chosen from teen heroes like me, former interns, work experience candidates and other people Radio 1 and 1Xtra have met through their outreach work. What happens in those meetings is also going to be shared with the rest of the BBC, so we may even end up telling the whole BBC what we think! I believe that no other radio station or media outlet is involving young people in this way, so it is a really important and exciting decision by Ben Cooper.

I am so, so happy that my idea was heard and is now actually going to happen. Lots of young people have great ideas but they think that no one will have the time to listen to them, or won't bother to actually carry them out. So I hope this can be an example to inspire other people that anything is possible. If you have an idea, keep pushing because one day, someone will listen!

BBC Radio 1's Youth Council launches on Tuesday 14th July. To keep across Radio 1's latest news visit bbc.co.uk/radio1 and follow @BBCR1 on Twitter