The Reading Youth Council (RYC) Conference has been launched with the aim of reaching as many young people in the borough as possible.

There will be lots of discussion about important issues such as the environment, knife crime and mental health but this year there is a difference.

With the support of Brighter Futures for Children, the event will be entirely online and interactive and young people will be able to take part any time over the next three weeks.

The keynote speaker for the first ever virtual RYC conference is Deborah Glassbrook, Reading’s Director of Children’s Services, and there are videos from young people talking about subjects the RYC has campaigned on this year.

Participants are invited to watch the videos, read presentations, answer questions and give their opinions on the issues raised, including how they have coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young people who complete the content will be invited to enter a prize draw with the chance of winning vouchers for the Escape Room, Reading Climbing Centre and Caversham Lakes Activity Centre.

The virtual conference has been promoted to schools in Reading and a day’s activity prize for up to 30 students will be presented to the school with the most overall participants.

The event is also being promoted on Brighter Futures for Children’s social media channels over the next three weeks: @BFfC_Child on twitter, @readingyoungpeople on Instagram and @BFfCChild on Facebook.

Deborah Glassbrook, Director of Children’s Services, said: “The last 12 months have been so difficult for young people, with their school work being disrupted, being unable to meet up with friends, play sport or take part in social activities.

“The virtual Reading Youth Council Conference gives our wonderful young people the opportunity to give their views about mental health issues and other key topics, such as the environment.

“The RYC does a fantastic job campaigning on behalf of young people and I am delighted to have been asked to speak in their first ever online annual conference and I hope as many young people take part as possible.”

The RYC is a group of elected representatives who campaign on issues that matter to young people in Reading. You can find out more about the group and lots of activities and resources in the Young People’s Zone on the Brighter Futures for Children website.

Young people can take part in the Reading Youth Council online conference until 19 March by visiting: