“Welcome to Young Voices Heard, a not-for-profit network founded in 2017 by James Cathcart, former Chief Executive of the British Youth Council and formerly Head of Target Groups/Mentoring at The Prince’s Trust. Our aim is to promote greater youth participation in society and public life. Whether you are a young person with something to say, or someone wanting to hear it, we want to help and we want to hear from you.
Young Voices Heard recognises that whilst there has been some growth in ‘youth-led’ action and ‘youth-voice’ democratic initiatives for under 18’s, and some increase in participation by over 18’s at the ballot box, there is still much to be done to ensure those voices and votes are truly ‘heard’, recognised and acted upon. We aim to promote and share good practice about positive youth participation in society, targeting decision-makers and the media. We want society to recognise and value their contribution, not only as volunteers in local communities, but as change-makers in the boardroom and in parliament, by sharing, writing, advising, and advocating on their behalf. We want to reach out to youth-led initiatives, to connect them to each other starting out, their peers with greater experience, and to the media to recognise them. We especially want to reach those on both sides of this dialogue to those who would not otherwise get the opportunity.
We are just starting out too, but aim to grow with the help of young advisors, associates and partners in our network. There is much to do to bridge the gap between those who have something to say and those who want to hear, particularly those who are harder to reach on both sides.
Throughout 2017 and 2018 we have been building up a network of contacts and offering both formal and informal consultancy support with those who share this vision, as well as writing and promoting youth participation, including a pro bono pledge to the Step Up To Serve/#iwill campaign for youth social action, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Queens Young Leaders initiative, and as an Ambassador for the British Citizens Awards.
Going forward, under the ‘Young Voices Heard’ banner, we plan to grow our network of young advisors and associates and provide both formal and informal support through workshops, public speaking, articles, judging, nominating awards, but mostly consultancy advice on policy and strategy. This includes promoting reform to engage more young people in democracy. We have helped ‘young voices to be heard’
- Commonwealth Youth Council, Youth Ministers Meeting Uganda 2017
- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, London 2018
- Commonwealth Parliamentary Association debate House of Lords 2017
- Royal Commonwealth Society Queens Writing Competition 2017 & 2018
- International Citizens Service UN World Action Day 2017
- National Citizen Service teams, Kent 2017, 2018
- British Citizens Awards and British Youth Citizens Awards 2017 & 2018
- Children Young People Now Awards 2017 and 2018
- General Federation of Trade Unions – Youth Participation 2018
- Kent Youth Council 2017, Medway Youth Council 2018
- Parliament – Lords Citizenship and Engagement Committee 2017
- NCS Royal Charter Bill 2017, Votes at 16 Bill 2017/18
- Talk Politics UK, 2-3 Degrees, Youth Politics, Shout Out UK, Model Westminster Society
- Institute for the Future of Work, 2018
We aim to connect those who want to hear young people and support young peoples campaigns, both to be heard, but in social policy issues such as better mental health and a curriculum for life. This has included writing and advising on youth-participation, the youth-vote, votes at 16 and youth social action volunteering.
However we are a new organisation and building up a network of young advisors and associates will take time and resources. If you can help make it happen sooner – please get in touch! We want to raise funds that will enable our services to young people be provided free.
Contact me to share your stories or talk about our services which include public speaking, workshops, training, assessment, review, coaching, mentoring and research.