ShoutOutUK have confirmed on social media that their Youth Engagement grant contract with Government (DCMS Youth Dir) to manage the Youth Policy Development Group, has been extended until April 2023. Young Voices Heard and polling company Survation are also partners in this Government programme.
Recruitment is now open to boost the YPDG membership to 40 (aged 16-25/England) to continue informing and influence Government policies at monthly roundtables with Ministers or senior officials. Apply by 7th August. (more details below)
Kyrenia Shipillis (18) – interview with YVH gives a members perspective on her experience of working as a volunteer policy “changemaker”
The DCMS Minister responsible for Civil Society and Youth Directorate, Nigel Huddleston MP first announced the partnership with ShoutOutUk in July 2021 when he said “We are looking forward to working with ShoutOutUK.. enabling more young people to get 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.”
The Youth Engagement grants programme (which also funds the Youth Parliament) was under review earlier this year with views being sought from stakeholders and young people. It was also a topic of one of the YPDG roundtables and you can read the their #youthvoice survey results and some of their recommendations at Youth Engagement Roundtable).
This announcement is an extension of the programme until March 23, by when the review and any evaluation of impact is expected to complete. (the Centre for Youth Impact are running two evaluations into the impact of youth voice and participation, including this initiative).
ShoutOutUK was set up by Matteo Bergamini in 2015 when he was 22, to address the lack of political education and literacy in schools and they have featured as YVH ones to watch in our Gallery of Changemakers since we launched in 2017. Check out their other platform, programme and campaigns at They currently service the APPG on Political Literacy. Matteo is one of a new generation of young social entrepreneurs now ‘leading’ organisations, which has since grown into an organisation seeking to mobilise youth voice and greater participation in democracy through a range of activities. Its coordinates the All Party Parliamentary Group on ‘political literacy’ as well delivering voter registration campaigns.
“I am honoured to continue working with DCMS to give the next generation this unique opportunity of engaging directly with government to inform and influence policy for the betterment of future generations. We can’t wait to continue growing this immensely important project, getting more young people at the table and more stakeholders involved. We are just getting started.” Matteo 5/7/22
How does the YPDG work and how can young people join it?
The YPDG group takes consultation referrals from different Government departments via the governments Youth Directorate at DCMS. Its members are given skills training, briefings and access to bespoke surveys or polling on each policy topic before every consultation so that they can prepare a presentation with recommendations to a monthly meeting with the relevant minister or senior officials.
- – DfEducation: (Covid testing and vacinnations/ Minister Ron Walker MP
- – DfEducation: (UN Rights of the Child report) / Permanent Sec DFE
- – Defra: Youth Centre design/Youth Investment Fund designers
- – DCMS: (Youth Engagement with Govt review)/Youth Directorate
- – Defra (Genetic Food modification)/Minister Jo Churchill MP
- – D. of Health (Mental Health & Wellbeing)/ Minister Gillian Keegan MP & Dr Alex George
Recruitment now open 22/23 – until 7th August 2022
Young people (aged 16-25) are recruited from a range of backgrounds from across England. You can see the bios of some of the existing members on the SOUK website and reads Kyrenia interview about her role and experience as a member (see below).
The pool of 30 is being refreshed as people come to the end of their first term, and growing in response to the extension and demand to 40. The role is voluntary but as well as receiving training and accreditation young people will get one-2-one mentoring sessions, and access to other progressions opportunities. All reasonable travel and overnight accommodation (If needed) is covered, though some of the sessions are online or hybrid.
The SOUK website explains that the programme “is now an official Government programme, run by DCMS in partnership with SOUK”. Young people are now being invited to apply to join the group which will give them “a platform to regularly debate, create and present extensive policy briefs with Ministers from a range of government departments, as well as meet with other like-minded individuals through monthly training sessions and roundtable discussions”
Kyrenia Shipillis, (18) YPDG member says “This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my limited life as I have not only been able to interact with key government officials but also have my ideas and beliefs listened to and engaged with my peers. Schemes like this are important because they give young people a platform to express their political and social views. By creating a warm and understanding community, (SOUK/DCMS) young people are able to engage with our political sphere without the risk of feeling judged or they have not made an impact. I came to the YPDG as someone who had a hard time with public speaking and formulating my opinion in a cohesive manner. Now, I am no longer afraid to voice my opinions in a manner of which is digestible to an audience.”
Time commitment / Expectations:
SOUK explains that “YPDG members are expected to attend one 4-5hr long hybrid training session, and one hour-long virtual roundtable per month, alongside 1-2 additional workshops lasting no more than 1 hour. Roundtables take place in the evening and typically start around 5pm, and the first session you will attend is the training session, taking place in September. All YPDG members are also expected to help gather the views of their peers on the topics discussed via social media, in the lead-up to roundtable discussions”. Young Voices Heard helps design and promote surveys. We need everyone’s help to reach other young people and get a wide range of views to feed in. So members and supporters who have networks, are encouraged to apply or sign up a contact points – especially those not heard before. All welcome!
What if Id like to get involved but dont have the time to join the YPDG – but I still want to inform and influence policy and get involved for future opportunities?
You can always be a supporter or join the Young Voices Heard network. Simply let us know through the contact form below – and we can sign you up to get first sight of Government policy surveys and be a contact point promoting them to your networks and peers. If interested complete the contact form at the bottom of this blog, putting “Id like to join the YVH / YDPG supporters network” in the message – and we’ll be in touch. 🙂
Comment from YVH.
Young Voices Heard editor James says “Having been an observer of all the training sessions and roundtables of the YPDG I have seen young people first hand, take their place at the policy table on equal terms, and heard their views listened too with respect. They have grown in confidence and well able as presenters, advocates and policy analysts to hold their own in the roundtables, engaging in constructive dialogue. I’m delighted, though not surprised, that their efforts have been rewarded with an extension and further growth to the programme – well done to ShoutOutUK whose roots in being youthled is evident today in their young teams empowering agenda and leadership – which is infectious and inspiring.”
Last Word from Kyrenia Shipillis (18) member of the YPDG. (from an interview with YVH on 28th June)
“YPDG and youth voice gives young people a chance to be heard and engage in matters that affect us. It means so much to young people out there who are afraid of what the future may bring. To those in power, whether you like it or not, our youth is the future of this country. They deserve to be invested in, listened to, and heard. Work with us so we can work with you”