Youth Participation Quality Mark Project: 2020

Youth Participation Quality Mark Project: 2020

Blogs, Young Voices Heard
Having a 'Youth Participation Quality Mark' is one way to indicate that #youthvoice is being heard AND making a difference to your organisation. Having certification, or an award, will indicate the degree to which youth-participation is a) 'taking place', ranging from consultation to participation in decision-making and scrutiny, and  b)'meaningful and fit for purpose'  "Register your interest and feedback to info@youngvoicesheard.org.uk with your name/role/org recommending good practice examples and sharing a #youthvoice view for what quality looks like". That's why Young Voices Heard is launching a Quality Assurance project that will lead to a new set national standards for engagement, participation and impact. Working with a network of independent young advisors, including #iwill ambassadors, #democracychampions and #youthparticipation specialists, we intend to research and review the traditional existing benchmarks, to produce…
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The Challenge of Youth Power: From silent-service to youth-voice leading

The Challenge of Youth Power: From silent-service to youth-voice leading

Blogs, Young Voices Heard, Youth Social Action
At the start of its seventh and final year the Step Up To Serve's (SUTS) #iwill campaign has launched a "Power of Youth Challenge 2020" to organisations, decision makers and young people to come together and get involved in a year-long set of activities that will champion youth voice, action and leadership in the #iwill network across the UK. Everyone, including young people, are invited to not only see, hear and value youth voice and leadership, but to signup to promote and grow it. The 'Challenge' also represents a strategic call to the youth sector organisations, decision makers and young people to continue to work together into the future to ensure our collective advances are not lost' as the SUTS charity prepares to close at the end of 2020. (more…)
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Votes at 16: Parked, paused, what next?

Votes at 16: Parked, paused, what next?

Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Votes at 16: 2020, What next for this long-running campaign?  ‘Votes at 16’ no longer commands the support of a majority of MPs in the new Parliament.  Yes - Wales has joined Scotland in lowering the local voting age locally, but are General Election campaigners facing five years 'parked' in Parliament? Are young people in this age group now prioritising action on climate change, mental health and knife-crime over the right to vote? After all, Greta Thunberg has shown that even if you are too young to vote you are not too young to be heard by those that do. Stakeholders, supporters and funders are focusing on investment in social action campaigning and renewed youth services all year round, rather than empowerment through voting tomorrow. Invited by the Leverhulme Trust…
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Do something amazing – for someone amazing – #Nominateyouth

Do something amazing – for someone amazing – #Nominateyouth

Blogs, Democracy, Recognition, Young Voices Heard, Youth Social Action
Its been a New Years Honour for an increasing number of 'young' changemakers like Mete Coban MBE (pictured), as more, and even younger people, are being successfully nominated for New Year's or Queens Birthday Honours. This blog highlights some who have been recognised for their youth leadership and campaigning work as young-led social action shows increasing signs of becoming a self-sustaining movement, as more of its young flagbearers are being recognised nationally. Valuing Recognition Since 2018 Young Voices Heard have been making new year resolutions. One of these 'To nominate more youthvoice projects and their champions for awards and recognition, locally and nationally' is one way to ensure that youth-led social action, in all its forms, is recognised. It is relatively easy for anyone to take the time to put…
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#YouthVoiceNow: Interview  with Anna McGovern (18)        #iwill Ambassador and Chair of Medway Youth Council

#YouthVoiceNow: Interview with Anna McGovern (18) #iwill Ambassador and Chair of Medway Youth Council

Blogs, Young Voices Heard
by James Cathcart, 20th November 2019   Anna is an #iwill Ambassador - one of a group of young activists successfully nominated in recognition of their outstanding volunteering work. She is now a role model and ambassador for the national ‘Step Up To Serve’ campaign -  which aims to increase youth ‘social action’ and celebrate the role of young people as active citizens. Anna has campaigned on safeguarding for children/on-line safety and better mental health, with NSPCC and Childline, and has been recognised with awards included the Prime Ministers Point of Light Award for her work. As part of national #iwillweek2019 I met Anna, in her role as Chair when she was hosting the Medway Youth Council’s annual conference on climate change. It was held at Mid Kent College in Chatham…
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Election 19 #YouthVoice Manifesto – Nothing about us      Without us!

Election 19 #YouthVoice Manifesto – Nothing about us Without us!

#GE19 & Campaigns, Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Its been two years since I posted my last 'General Election Call To Action’ and a ‘Youth-Voice Agenda’ to highlight youth people's concerns and campaigns, especially those who could not vote.* I followed up with an open letter to the Prime Minister and Party Leaders calling on them to 'talk to young people not about them' – both during and after campaigns – and to consider introducing a series of reforms that would prioritise youth issues and embed meaningful #youthvoice and #participation in our democracy going forward**. Here is my updated open call for this election – “An Advocate’s Youth Manifesto” – inspired by the #youthvoice movement, from individual campaigners to national consultations like the amazing Make Your Mark Ballots of recent years organised by the UK Youth Parliament, the…
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Youth Voice, Direct Action and Greta

Youth Voice, Direct Action and Greta

Blogs, Young Voices Heard, Youth Social Action
Youth Voice, Direct Action and Greta | Stepping up to serve, or stepping out to protest? Youth participation in direct action protest is taking youth voice social action to the next level.  This article explores the challenges and opportunities of 'direct action' for campaigners who struggle to be heard. Greta Thunberg, the young climate change campaigned is not interested in being 'tomorrows leader today', nor does she want to be 'part of the solution'. Instead she is demonstrating the power of independent youth-led protest to amplify #youthvoice to power. Action to get action "Youth Voice in an empty room is but an echo. You need to be heard by the relevant decision-makers, to even stand a chance of making an impact, but being seen to be heard can raise awareness…
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Youth Charter 2019 – Youth Minister 2020

Youth Charter 2019 – Youth Minister 2020

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
Youth Charter pending?  Youth Minister overdue! Have the stars aligned, at last, to create the conditions for a meaningful dialogue between youth sector stakeholders and decision-makers, resulting in a higher profile for youth policy development and a lead from Government? Following the ‘Serious Youth Violence Summit’ in early April 2019, the Government announced that it would be working with the youth sector in the coming months, to produce a Youth Charter that will “set out a vision for young people for the next generation and beyond”. The Government repeated its commitment to “giving young people a strong* voice on issues they care about” (first set out in last years Civil Society Strategy, DCMS). Sports and Civil Society Minister [with responsibility for that departments youth policy but its a stretch to…
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Youth Work Matters 2018

Youth Work Matters 2018

Blogs, Young Voices Heard
To mark 'Youth Work' Week, on the eve of the Youth Parliament Commons debate, James Cathcart reflects on his early experiences of being a youth worker in the 1980s, what 'youth work' is, and why it matters so much today. "I started out my career as a youth worker and am still proud to fly the Youth Work flag when and where I can. (more…)
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UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot TOP 10 campaigns 2018, reviewed

UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot TOP 10 campaigns 2018, reviewed

Blogs, Democracy, Young Voices Heard
The UK Youth Parliament #MAKEYOURMARK ballot is published (header photo), and the polls are open. Anyone aged 11-18 in the UK can now vote for their priority campaign until 10th October through their local school/youth council/online. In recent years young volunteers have mobilised nearly a million of their peers to vote across the U.K. making it the largest consultation of young people in the country if not Europe. The annual debate of the five of these campaigns by the Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, was one of the highlights of my year when I was at The British Youth Council, but its the results of the popular vote that is a fascinating, sometimes surprising and even ahead of the curve the Westminster bubble. It's what matters to next…
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