Young Voices Heard is supporting the work of the new Youth Policy Development Group which is currently ‘listening’ to the views of other young people – see links below – with a view to informing and influencing government policy from the inside. The group (aged 16-25) is calling on young people (in England) to share their views on policy issues. The current survey includes questions on covid recovery education, child poverty and housing. This is part of an ongoing dialogue with Government being coordinated by ShoutOutUK and the DCMS Civil Society and Youth Directorates Youth Engagement programme. The group will develop a policy presentation and proposals for discussion at their next Ministerial Roundtable scheduled for the end of January.
The first meeting took place in December on Covid Vacs and Testing, with officials and the Schools Minister Robin Walker MP and officials rom the Dept for Education.
Survey link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/T3T2GB2
◊ Twitter: includes survey link (This includes video by Inaam (17) a spokesperson for the group) https://twitter.com/Shoutout_UK/status/1479117481146916866?s=20
◊ Facebook: includes survey link https://fb.watch/anW8aOhQMA/
The initial deadline for this survey is 15th January . The polling company Redfield & Wilton Strategies will analysis the comments for the group.
The Youth policy group will not only respond to Government policy requests, but will also look to young people’s priority issues on the table.
“I was really impressed with the commitment and confidence of this diverse group from across England, aged 16-25, who were recruited and trained by ShoutOutUK in October and November, when they presented and discussed their policy recommendations on Covid vaccinations and testing amongst young people, with Department for Education officials and the Schools Minister Robin Walker MP, in December. Officials wanted to follow up with more questions as part of a structured dialogue.
The initiative is officially recognised by the DCMS which I hope will ensure it has ongoing support from officials and access to Ministers as it develops. Nigel Huddleston MP, the Minister responsible for the Youth Engagement policy and grant at DCMS, said:
“We’re looking forward to enabling more young people to be involved in the programme and have their voices heard. This grant continues to represent a key mechanism for supporting meaningful engagement between young people and decision makers at all levels and we remain committed to funding this activity”
So ‘Young Voices Heard’ is supporting the work of the group by helping it to reach out to as wide a network of young people as possible so that it grows in strength and depth to make credible policy proposals that take account of the views of as many young people in England as possible. Feedback from previous such groups was that they wanted more feedback on the difference they were making – the ‘You Said We Did’ principle, and this has been built into the structure of the programme. I look forward to seeing the results.
This particular project builds on the work of its predecessors and young activists whose engagement with democracy has ranged from voter turnout to lowering the voting age, from issue campaigning to youth parliament representation, from consultation to co-production. I’ve been lucky enough to be in the room delegations went to meet Ministers or spoke to the media, on a range of issues, with varying degrees of success. Examples I particularly remember include the work of the UK Youth Parliament and BYC/Parliament’s Youth Select Committee model, as well as the work of local youth councils. #Youthvoice has also been growing in other areas of public life with the support of the parliament outreach and education services, the Cabinet Office youth engagement team, as well as several voluntary sector initiatives and charities resulting in many more young people have given evidence to Select Committees and to inquiries, as well as being heard locally and national on advisory boards and young inspectors groups.
But what has really inspired me in recent years is when young people themselves take the led – not by permission, invitation or within supportive organisations – but become more entrepreneurial and independent in founding and controlling their own initiatives and organisations – to set the agenda for youthvoice in democracy – such as Youth Politics UK , My Life My Say and ShoutOutUK itself – where they have promoted the idea of self-empowerment through education and peer support. ShoutOutUk, for example, has designed and delivers political literacy curriculum to schools with the aim of empowering the next generation to be active citizens.
So, as ever I’m optimistic, not just about the work of this group, but of the #youthvoice movement building behind it and other initiatives, as each new generation ‘builds back better’ on the work of its predecessors, and as ‘alumni’ take on the role of peer mentors, leaders and supporters they themselves are progressing into positions of power and influence and are now “holding the door open” and “sending the lift back down” to those that follow”
James Cathcart , Director ‘Young Voices Heard’ and ‘Campaign4Youth Recognition’
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