A live illustration image from the TRIUMPH Youth Advisory Group residential

Our final TRIUMPH residential – reflections from a YAG member

Hi! My name is Praveena, and I am a part of the TRIUMPH Network as a representative of ALPHA. Recently, the whole YAG met in Birmingham for our final (!) residential. I was thrilled to see everyone again! After a surprisingly hassle-free coach ride up on Thursday, we had dinner and a good catch-up, complete with cake and a heated discussion about how ancient Egyptians buried their hamsters.

Friday morning, we worked on two of our current projects: ‘Feeling understood’ and ‘Transition to adulthood’. Since our last residential in April, the YAG has collected more data from workshops in Wales and Northern Ireland, which we analysed and categorised. Following this, we reflected on our experiences of co-production and debated its advantages + disadvantages. After a much-deserved lunch break, we sat down to watch videos from researchers who have worked with TRIUMPH. I was astonished at how many projects TRIUMPH has guided, on top of leading our own research. Also, it was satisfying to get an update on how these projects are doing – one intervention had even won an award!

On this topic of ‘legacy’, we brought a live illustrator in to depict our discussions about our achievements, both personally and as a YAG. I definitely got a bit emotional there.

Saturday was more upbeat as we planned for our national event in October. However, thinking of the logistics of hosting around 150 people was quite stressful! There was a lot to consider such as accommodating everyone’s needs, keeping young people engaged, and, unfortunately, the limited budget we must work with. The highlight of Saturday was the VR reality experience in the evening – a first for many of us, including me. It was honestly quite unsettling…

Sunday came way too fast, and it was already time for us to pack up. We recapped our next steps and the frankly massive amount of work the researchers and YAG must do. After a quick trip to the world’s biggest Primark, we had a slightly hectic coach ride home.

As TRIUMPH is coming to an end in November, this was a bittersweet residential. I will miss staying up late in the hotel lobby, playing Mouse Trap, eating endless Costco cake, and abusing Emily’s polaroid camera. Since we’ve been back, there have been hundreds of messages in the group chat which I think reflects how close this YAG is and how enthusiastic we are even as we are coming to an end.

A live illustration image from the TRIUMPH Youth Advisory Group residential

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