The Power of Youth Day – Youth Policy Dev Group – Mental Health Roundtable – Campaign4YouthRecognition
The 6th of June was #PowerofYouth Day! So ‘Young Voices Heard’ is celebrating the voluntary work of young people involved in #youthvoice and #youthsocialaction, and asking you to support the Campaign4YouthRecognition by nominating someone amazing for recognition, locally or nationally. Whether its a nomination for a Queens Honour, to a Gold Star in school for being a changemaker – lets all recognise and encourage young people and each other, recognising good work. But we would also like to spotlight the volunteering of the Youth Policy Development Group who are working ‘for free’ to inform and influence government policies on behalf of their peers.
Power of Youth Spotlight: The “Youth Policy Development Group”
Thankyou and congratulations to the 30 members of the Youth Policy Development Group who have been volunteering their time every month, to prepare and present policy proposals at Govt policy roundtables with Ministers and officials.
This policy group of young people aged 16-25 (England) was recruited in November 21 to reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, ages and interests. You can read some of their profiles on the YPDG website. They have given up their spare time to research, rehearse and attend monthly Saturday training sessions to prepare their response to range of policy request from Government departments, ranging from Genetic Food to Covid testing. This week, the roundtable is on mental health and wellbeing. You can read profiles of some of the group on the their website. Their policy recommendations are based on a range of young people’s views gathered from bespoke quantitative and qualitative polling and surveys. The co-ordinating organisation ShoutoutUK, was itself was founded by a young entrepreneur Matteo Bergamini, when he was 22 in 2015. He is typical of a new wave of young leaders, who are establishing their own platforms and initiatives, not by invitation or permission, but taking the lead, who are increasingly making up a new youth roots movement calling for higher standards for youth participation in public decision-making.
Engaging young people’s voices in decision-making, such as with government initiatives, can result in an increasing understanding and interest among young people in civic and political affairs and foster political literacy; young people feel that they are actively involved in decision-making and that their concerns are taken seriously by government, though it will take time to get definitive feedback on impact based on “you said – we did” style of impact evaluation. However anecdotal feedback has been positive and as someone who has observed the roundtables I have been pleased to see that the Youth Policy Groups views are being taken seriously.
Mental Health and WellBeing Roundtable 6th June – with Minister Gillian Keegan MP and Dr Alex George, Govt MH Ambassador.
On June the 6th the roundtable was a consultation on Mental Health and Well-Being policy, where the YPDG shared the findings of survey (promoted by YoungVoicesHeard) from 180 young people aged 12-25, and shared their recommendations on four themes that will feature within the Governments new Mental Health and Well-Being 10 yr plan.
YouthVoice Quotes from members of the YPDG/ Minister’s response:
“My time as a YPDG member has been excellent so far. The role has allowed me to advance my communication and public speaking skills as well as learn the fundamentals of government policy. Discussing and engaging with a diverse range of topics has been the best part of this experience. You learn and develop a new life skill with every session.”– Kyrenia, YPDG
“The YPDG is one of the few avenues I feel I have really been able to get my voice heard as a young person. It is essential that there are programs like this for the youth and I’m grateful to be a part of such a diverse, friendly and hardworking group.” – Charlie, YPDG
“The Youth Policy Development Group (YPDG) has been a fantastic experience for me. Not only have I been able to research and present policy to ministers, but I’ve also been able to advise DCMS at different stages of policy development.”– Jemima, YPDG member and #iwillmovement Board member.
Jo Churchill MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, had the following to say about the YPDG led discussion on Genetic Modification of food, “I want to say how impressed I am with the views we’ve got; you’ve really captured the subjects in all its aspects. This is one of the most sensible conversations I’ve had in this area. I’m incredibly grateful for the work you’ve put in.”
Campaign4Youth Recognition – three former #iwillambassadors and #youthvoice champions were awarded BEMs in the Queens Jubilee Honours, Katrina Lambert 21 (former co-Chair of Back Youth Alliance, trustee of Volunteering Matters and longstanding youthvoice champion and campaigner in Scotland, Naomi Lea, #iwillmovement board member, and co-founder of Project Hope (during covid) and Patrick Cantellow 23, who was non-exec board members of Youth Employment UK and champion against youth unemployment. You can read more about their work, and see the names of other award winners in this blog.