Youth representatives and leading organisations call on the UK Government to hold youth press conference on Covid19 and allow under-18s to ask questions in the daily briefing, in an Open Letter to the PM*.    Young Voices Heard also calls on the media to give youthvoice more of a platform because when we are all in this together, every voice matters.

We, at Young Voices Heard, have joined over 130 young representatives and senior leaders from over 80 organisations, across the youth, education, health, funding and civil society sectors to call on the UK Government to hold a dedicated press conference for young people to answer their questions about the Covid-19 pandemic and to allow under-18s to submit questions to the daily press conference, in an open letter published today, 7th May 2020. Young Voices Heard is also calling for greater media coverage of young voices whose isolation is compounded by not being heard at a national level. (see Blog Youth Voice Covid – Who’s Listening?)

Children and young people are feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – on their mental health, their education, their hopes for the future and much more. They are also making a difference to us all – by staying at home, supporting loved ones, and volunteering in communities. At this time, more than ever, young people’s contribution must be recognised, their voices heard and their questions answered.

After constructive initial engagement with Number 10, organisations who have been coordinated by the #iwill campaign, are ready to work with the Government and the media to ensure that young people emerge from this crisis ready to continue their lives as active, positive citizens.

James Cathcart, Director of Young Voices Heard “The young people who backed this letter, and the millions they represent, have also supported the lockdown, cheered frontline workers, and done their bit to help volunteering and fundraising. They deserve to have their questions heard and answered publicly by the PM and in the media, because isolation is not just about feeling lonely and missing family and friends, its feeling that every voice matters but yours”

Katrina Lambert, 19, #iwill Ambassador and Girlguiding Scotland Advocate says,

“Young people from all across the UK are concerned for what the future holds. Yet, as is too often the case, our voices are not being recognised. A crisis shouldn’t provide an excuse to ignore young people. It should create an urgency to include us. It has been fantastic to see leaders from New Zealand to my home of Scotland lead the way by speaking directly to young people and answering our concerns. The UK government must do the same to make sure that we are not forgotten.”

Alicia Jones, 17, #iwill Champion and Member Of Youth Parliament, says,
“Being a young carer, I know full well that young people’s contributions are far too often invisible and ignored in society. However, being a Member of Youth Parliament I also know what can happen when the government listens to young people and gives us the chance we deserve, as when our voices are heard we can work together and achieve amazing things to improve the lives of young people.”

Dr Rania Marandos, CEO of Step Up To Serve, which coordinates the #iwill campaign, says:
“Young people have so much to bring to the table as engaged citizens. By working closely with them, we benefit daily from their perspectives, insights and passion. The UK Government has much to gain from listening to young people’s voices during this crisis.
It has been inspiring to come together with so many leading organisations and young people, from all corners of the UK, to sign this open letter. In these challenging times, it is essential that we continue to collaborate with young people and with each other.”

*OPEN LETTER

The Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP  The Prime Minister  10 Downing Street  London SW1A 2BQ                                     Sent on behalf of signatories by #iwill Campaign
6th May 2020

Dear Prime Minister,   

It’s time for the UK Go​vernment to engage with young people

Without urgent action, we risk the Coronavirus pandemic leading to a lost generation of children and  young people. Now more than ever, their voices must be heard.

The crisis has the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities and create new ones. The future is  uncertain – with schools and colleges closed, exams cancelled and employment prospects diminished.  Many feel anxious, disaffected and isolated. Mounting evidence from organisations and young people  across the UK shows that their mental health is suffering and vulnerability is rising.

In spite of these challenges, young people are continuing to make a positive difference. They are staying  at home, caring for family members, supporting their peers and reaching out to help others in their  communities – and they have more to offer. We must recognise and respect their contribution. From Norway, to New Zealand, to Scotland, other countries are already leading the way forward in engaging  with young people directly on these issues and more. The UK Government should do the same.

Young people need to know that their Government is listening and prepared to engage. This should start  with the Prime Minister. The Government has enabled over-18s in the general public to submit questions  to the daily UK Coronavirus press briefing, but now it should allow young people to have their questions  answered too.

That is why we are calling on the Prime Minister to hold a dedicated press conference for young  people to answer their questions about Covid-19 – what it means for them now and in the months to  come​, ​and to allow under-18s to submit questions to the daily press conference.    These actions must be the first steps in a wider UK Government strategy to engage young people more  concertedly through this crisis. ​This includes communicating directly with young people as part of the  ‘roadmap’ for the lockdown exit strategy.​ Only by treating young people as active citizens can we address  the significant challenges we collectively face, empower them to make a positive difference, and show  that we understand our responsibility to shape the future of the UK with them

Signed

Youth Representatives Across the UK (scroll down for Senior Leaders)

Abby Lang, 19, #iwill Ambassador
Aishah, 21, NHS England Youth Forum Member
Alana, 16, Former MYP for Plymouth
Alex, 15, Member of the Hampshire Youth Network
Alex, 16, MYP for Manchester Central
Alex, 17, MYP for Stockport
Alice, 12, MYP for Norwich
Alicia Jones, 17, #iwill Champion, MYP for Thurrock, Young Carer Advocate#iwillchampion
Allie, 18,
Amy, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Anekha, 19, #iwill Champion
Anna McGovern, 18, #iwill Ambassador, Chair of Medway Youth Council, Member of Government’s Youth Justice Board, Simple Politics Volunteer
April, 16, MYP for North and West Norfolk
Ardeel, 16, MYP for Birmingham
Arron Simpson, 20, NHS England Youth Forum Member
Arthur, 17
Athika Ahmed, 18, #iwill Ambassador, Cardiff & Vale Health Youth Board member
Atlanta, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Ben, 13, #iwill Ambassador
Bruce Taylor, 18, Co Founder, Youth for Refugees
Callum Pethick, 20, Groundwork Youth Advisory Board Member
Cameron, 14
Charlene Spence, 19, #iwill Ambassador
Charli Clement, 19, #iwill Ambassador
Charlie, 13, MYP for Central Bedfordshire
Charlie, 23, Youth Advocate & Campaigner
Charlotte, 15, YEA
Chelsea-Marie Vidler, 21, Youth Health Champion & Surf Mentor
Chloe Briggs, 18
Chloe Donovan, 25, Trustee, Food Ethics Council
Christina Arena, 18, #iwill Champion, Vice-Chair of MYC
Cian Gullen, 21, #iwill Ambassador
Cindy, 16, Volunteer
Claire, 15, #iwill Ambassador
Dafydd Duggan, 21, #iwill Ambassador
Daisy Kelly, 18, Scout Leader
Dani Yates, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Daniel, 17, Flight Sergeant
Danielle, 15, #iwill Ambassador
Danielle, 15, #iwill Ambassador
Dara, 16, #iwill Ambassador
Davina, 16, MYP
Dev, 15, MYP for Leicestershire
Devan Witter BEM, 23, #iwill Ambassador
Dina, 17
Divina Pandya, 19
Dmitrijs, 14, #iwill Champion, Member of Youth Parliament for North West Hampshire
Elen O’Rawe, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Ella Blake, 19, Co-Founder, Youth for Refugees
Ella, 17
Emily Fox, 20, #iwill Ambassador
Emily, 17, Girlguiding Advocate
Emma Beeden, 19, Member of the NHS Youth Forum
Emma-Jane Hampsheir-Gill , 24, Regional Youth Development Officer, St John Ambulance
Esther, 14, #iwill Ambassador, Action for Conservation Ambassador
Ethan Szczelkun, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Ethan, 19, #iwill Ambassador, Founder Getting The Message Across
Evie Basch, 21, #iwill Ambassador
Ewan, 13, Youth Representative, BYC
Fabio Thomas, 25, Researcher, Beatfreeks
Fatima, 16
Francis Smith, 26, Risk Committee Chair & Trustee, The British Youth Council
Gabrielle Mathews, 22, #iwill Ambassador & Youth Expert Advisor
Gareth, 15, MYP for South East Hampshire
George Fielding BEM, 25, Young Advisor & Social Care Advocate
George, 15, Explorer Scout & Young Leader
Georgia, 14, MYP for Exeter
Grace, 16, #iwill Champion, HET Ambassador
Haania, 18, NHS Youth Advisor
Haroon Ahmed, 23, #iwill Fund Leadership Board Member
Harrison Clayton, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Harry Twohig, 19, #iwill Ambassador
Haydn, 17
Immanuel Masih, 26, Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador
Imogen, 17
Ishal, 14, MYP for West Hampshire
Jack Welch, 26, #iwill Advisory Council Member
Jade, 17
James Giles, 20, #iwill Ambassador
James, 16
Jamie Strudwick, 21, #iwill Ambassador
Jessica, 16, #iwill Ambassador
Jezz, 16, DMYP for North Suffolk
Joana Baptista, 18, #iwill Ambassador
Joba, 17, Girlguiding Young Leader
Jonelle Awomoyi, 21, #iwill Ambassador
Karan, 16, MYP for Bracknell Forest
Katrina Lambert , 19, #iwill Ambassador
Kay Davies, 23, #iwill Ambassador
Lamide Odanye, 21, #iwill Ambassador, Co-founder of LIVE Mentoring
Laura, 17
Lauren Wheeler, 19, #iwill Ambassador, Girlguiding Advocate
Lauren, 16, MYP for East
Lily, 11
Lizzie, 22
Lorna, 17, Girlguiding Young Leader
Lottie, 17, Pupil Power Network Member
Louise St.Pierre, 18
Lucia, 17, Girlguiding Young Leader
Lucie, 11, #iwill Ambassador
Maisie, 14, MYP for North Devon
Mansi, 17
Martim, 12, #iwill Ambassador
Meera, 16, MYP for Trafford
Millie, 17, DMYP for West Suffolk
Mohammed Mashhood, 26,
Molly, 17, NHS Youth Ambassador
Moneigh, 15
Monty, 15, SMYP for East Hampshire
Nadine Thomas, 24, Girlguiding Young Leader
Nakkita Charag, 21, NHS Youth Advisor, NHS Youth Forum
Neelu Saraswatibhatla, 18
Nyasha Duri, 22, #iwill Ambassador
Oban, 15, MYP for Somerset
Padraig, 17, #iwill Ambassador
Paige, 13, #iwill Ambassador
Patrick Cantellow, 20, #iwill Ambassador & Non-Executive Director, Youth Employment UK
Patrick, 17
Petty Officer Cadet Ellie Tucker & the Sea Cadets National Cadet Forum
Precious, 15, MYP
Ray Wang, 22, #iwill Ambassador; Developments Lead at B&B Young People’s Theatre Group
Rebecca, 17
Rebecca, 22, St John Ambulance Advocate
Rowan, 13, DMYP of Central Bedfordshire
Rowan, 14
Saeed Atcha MBE DL, 23, CEO Youth Leads UK
Seren Hughes, 24, NHS Youth Forum Ambassador
Shiv, 13
Simran Sangherra, 19, #iwill Ambassador
Sonia Beard, 21, NHS Youth Forum Youth Advisor, Tissue Ambassador for NHS Blood and Transplant
Sophia Badhan, 19, Mental Health Advocate
Sophie, 17, Broadland YAB Young Commissioner
Stevie, 16
Syed Ahsad Ali, 26
Tanaquil, 15, MYP for South Suffolk & Ipswich
Tapiwa, 16, MYP for Colchester
Thea, 17
Therese Crossan, 20, #iwill Ambassador
Thomas McEachan, 23, #iwill Ambassador & Trustee
Toby, 12, MYP for West Suffolk & Bury St Edmunds
Tom Farren, 22, Youth Committee Member of Beatfreeks Collective
Tom Rebair, 24, Young Minds Volunteer
Umar Sujad, 22, Youth Representative
Usman Ahmed, 21, #iwill Ambassador, Special Constable
Veronika Pudilova, 22
Victoria Bogle, 20, #iwill Ambassador
Xavana, 15, #iwill Champion
Zoe, 15, #iwill ChampionSenior Leader Signatories
Adeela Warley, CEO, Charity Comms
Alan Thornburrow, Country Director, BITC in Scotland
Ali Oliver, CEO, Youth Sport Trust
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council
Amanda Jordan OBE, Co-Founder, Step Up To Serve
Amanda Mackenzie OBE, CEO, Business in the Community
Angela Salt, CEO, Girlguiding
Anisa Morridadi, CEO & Founder, Beatfreeks
Ann Pickering, Trustee, Step Up To Serve
Anna Smee, CEO, Youth Futures Foundation
Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor, The University of Buckingham
Ben Cairns, Director, Institute for Voluntary Action Research
Bethia McNeil, CEO, The Centre for Youth Impact
Caron Bradshaw, CEO, Charity Finance Group
Ceylon Hickman, Head of Impact & Female Participation, Football Beyond Borders
Chris Martin, CEO, The Mix
Chris Murray, CEO, Young Brent Foundation
Chris White, Founder, Zing
Dame Alison Peacock, CEO, Chartered College of Teaching
Dame Julia Cleverdon, Co-Founder, Step Up To Serve
Dan Finn, CEO, The Archbishop of York Youth Trust
Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust
Denise Hayward, CEO, Volunteer Now
Dr Rania Marandos, CEO, Step Up To Serve
Dr Victoria Edwards, CEO, The Ernest Cook Trust
Elly Heaton-Virgo, CEO, Young Ealing Foundation
Emma Rigby, CEO, Association of Young People’s Health
Emma Thomas, CEO, Young Minds
Erik Mesel, Chair, Young People’s Foundation Trust
Graham Duxbury, CEO, Groundwork UK
Hendrikus van Hensbergen, CEO, Action for Conservation
Henry Greenwood, Managing Director, Green Schools Project
James Cathcart, Founder/Director, Young Voices Heard
James Toop, CEO, Biteback
Jane Ide, CEO, NAVCA
Jennie Butterworth, CEO, Envision
Jim Cooke, Head of Foundation, Co-op Foundation
Julian Olivier, CEO, Raleigh International
Julie Murdy, Director, Girls’ Brigade England & Wales
Justin Watson, Director, Young Manchester
Kevin Watkins, CEO, Save the Children
Kunle Olulode, Director, Voice 4 Change
Leigh Middleton, CEO, National Youth Agency
Louis Howell, Director, Revolution Hive
Louise Searle, Director, First Give
Lucy Supperstone, Director of Innovation and Skills, SLQ Sports Leaders
Margo Horsley, Voice as Value
Mark Russell, CEO, The Children’s Society
Martin Coles, CEO, Sea Cadets
Martin Houghton-Brown, CEO, St John Ambulance
Matt Hyde OBE, CEO, The Scouts
Matthew Taylor CBE FAcSS, CEO, RSA
Meg Henry, Co-Director, The Linking Network
Mete Coban, CEO, My Life My Say
Mike Adamson, CEO, British Red Cross
Moira Sinclair, CEO, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Natalie Cramp, CEO, Profusion
Ndidi Okezie, CEO, UK Youth
Neil Martin OBE, CEO, JLGB
Sir Nick Parker, Chair, Step Up To Serve & Team Rubicon
Nicola Butler, CEO, Young K&C
Paul Drechsler CBE, Chairman, London First & Bibby Line Group
Paul Reddish, CEO, Volunteering Matters
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary, NAHT
Peta Foxall, Chair, The Wildlife Trusts
Peter Cheese, CEO, CIPD
Peter Lewis, CEO, Institute of Fundraising
Phil Barron, CEO, Young Westminster Foundation
Pippa Smith, CEO, Student Hubs
Richard Parry, CEO, Canal & River Trust
Rita Chadha, CEO, Small Charities Coalition
Robin Osterley, CEO, Charity Retail Association
Russell Hobby, CEO, Teach First
Ruth Hollis, CEO, Spirit of 2012
Ruth Marks, CEO, Wales Council for Voluntary Action
Ruth Marvel, CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Sacha Deshmukh, Executive Director, Unicef UK
Sam Butters, CEO, Fair Education Alliance
Sian Jarvis CB, Director, Newton Europe
Sonja Graham, Managing Partner, Global Action Plan
Steve Frampton, President, Association of Colleges
Steve Holliday, President, Energy Institute
Tim Frew, CEO, YouthLink Scotland
Sir Trevor Pears CMG, Executive Chair, Pears Foundation
Vicky Browning, CEO, ACEVO
Wendy Human, Operations Director, Youth United

 

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