UK Youth Parliament launched their national campaigns calling on the government to address the climate emergency, mental health concerns and access to higher education. The year-long campaigns are set to challenge decision makers to do more to ensure young people’s mental health is prioritised in the coming year, to create free, lifelong and inclusive higher education and lastly to stop non-essential single-use plastics by 2025.
A Spokesperson for the UK Youth Parliament said: “Young people have a clear ambitious vision for our future, and it’s important decision makers take action to address our concerns as we commence our recovering from this global pandemic.
“In our vision for a better society young people have been clear they want action on the climate emergency, they wish to see young people’s mental health given the attention it deserves and a government that invests in the young people of today by providing free university education.”
Members of Youth Parliament believe the climate emergency remains one of the biggest threats to our planet. Amongst many other issues, members across the country have agreed plastic pollution will have a serious impact on our current and future generations. The group of outspoken young people have stated national and local leaders in government must act to halt the impact of climate change with young people’s voices at the centre of decision making.
Mental health has remained a priority repeatedly for young people across all nations with the issue reoccurring as a top priority on six occasions within UK Youth Parliament’s annual ballot since 2011. Research from the British Medical Journal revealed deterioration in mental health is clearest among families already struggling, reinforcing concerns from young leaders that mental health must be kept at the heart of the government’s approach to pandemic recovery.
UK Youth Parliament have also joined forced with other campaigners to reiterate the importance of providing free higher education in England. The youth-led pressure group, believe that university is a gateway to success in life and should be freely available to all. The campaign intends to call for reforms to access to universities to prevent young people suffering financial hardship and not reaching their full potential.
Each of the campaigns have come about following UK Youth Parliament’s annual ballot of young people across the UK. The ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot, which was coordinated by the British Youth Council and supported by UK Parliament, concluded young people felt access to higher education should remain free as a priority.
Youth Futures Foundation has announced the membership of its Future Voices Group, 13 young people who will act as ambassadors for the organisation and inform its strategy and work. Based on the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’, the group, which range in age from 16-24 years, have been recruited from across England to reflect the diversity and breadth of young people’s experiences as they move into work.
Working in collaboration with Youth Futures, the British Youth Council is supporting the group’s development and ongoing training over the next two years.
Explaining why she was motivated to join the group, Lauren Aird, 23, currently studying Health and Social Care in Leeds, said: “When I found the Future Voice Group, I realised I could use every negative experience I had faced to influence real change in how society supports marginalised young people into meaningful work and training.”
The Future Voices Groups will work with the Youth Futures staff team and Board of Directors sitting on the organisation’s advisory panels, working with the grants team to assess programmes, informing research design and attending roundtables with government and other partners as ambassadors and advocates.
Alex Morawski, aged 22, a member of the Youth Futures Foundation’s Board of Non-Executive Directors and Chair of the Future Voices Group, commented: “The Future Voices Group will play a critical role ensuring that youth voice informs all areas of Youth Futures’ work. The group will not just be part of the conversation, but will set the agenda for how we work with others to tackle the root causes of youth unemployment and ensure all young people have fair access to good quality jobs.”
The Future Voices Group are:
Alex Morawski, 22, currently in Edinburgh; Annie Bocock, 22, currently in Lincoln; Cindy Boa,18, currently in south east London; Ed Chaplin, 19, currently in Solihull; Isha Shakir, 21, currently in County Durham; Joel England, 21, currently in Bristol; Lauren Aird, 23, currently in Leeds; Max Spencer-Roe, 19, currently in Liverpool; Naomi Robinson, 24, currently in north London; Plamena Marinova, 17, currently in Norfolk; Roshan Sathy, 22, currently in Norfolk; Subhan Shan, 17, currently in Birmingham; Yemi Adeola, 22, currently in west London.
Anna Smee, CEO of Youth Futures Foundation said: “Young people’s experience and views are absolutely critical to inform our strategy, shape our work and help to deliver the systemic change we need to ensure equality of opportunity regardless of background, ethnicity or disability.”
Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council said: “Youth Futures’ Future Voices Group brings together a remarkable group of young people who, though from a variety of backgrounds and with very different experiences, share a common passion and purpose to make positive change to help and support others.”
The British Youth Council are calling on the UK government to announce its plans to replace significant funding lost since the UK’s exit from the EU. Following the ratification of the new trading and cooperation agreement with the European Union, organisations in the UK have lost access to Erasmus Plus.
The youth-led charity is calling on Ministers to take steps to address the €1 billion shortfall in funding which will affect many organisations across the UK. More than 4,800 UK-based projects were awarded funding between 2014-2018. The EU programme enabled organisations to support young people to develop new skills, gain vital international experience and boost their employability. UK Youth Parliament and UK Young Ambassadors, which are coordinated by the British Youth Council, have both received significant funding and support from the European programme.
Sarah Staples, Chair, British Youth Council said: “It cannot be right that young people have lost out as a result of this new deal with the European Union. Many UK youth organisations will have to scale back their work with young people or stop their work altogether if this funding is not replaced. The government must prioritise creating some certainty for the future of this funding so young people can continue to have access to these opportunities in post-Brexit Britain.”
The programme was also well-known for student exchanges and enabling young people to study, volunteer and gain work experience. Despite promising otherwise, the UK government will no longer participate in any part of the programme. The government have since announced the inception of the Turing scheme, which is due to commence in September 2021, and will allow young people to study and do work placements in other countries. However, the British Youth Council has concerns that without action and a like-for-like replacement for Erasmus Plus young people in the UK will lose access to the informal educational opportunities which they have been able to access until now.
The national youth council has written to Gavin Williamson CBE MP, Secretary of State for Education and Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to urge action so organisations can continue to deliver for young people post-Brexit.
The British Youth Council recognises that the majority of young people voted to remain in the European Union back in 2016. At the time young people were very concerned about employability prospects, opportunities for young people, threats to our education system and rising racism and fascism within our society. The British Youth Council urges the government to work with young people to ensure that they are given a voice on the global stage and to work with them to give them opportunities for education, to build relationships across national and cultural boundaries and to build their employability prospects.
The British Youth Council’s UK Young Ambassadors have conducted an investigation into the challenges for young people trying to secure high-quality jobs. The year-long extensive consultation has found that young people continue to face challenges when trying to access employment.
The report, which was co-funded by the European Union, is published following a series of events, focus groups and a survey. As part of the investigation, the ambassadors looked at the future of work, how education prepares people for the world of work, the social protection that young people need, ensuring jobs for those with additional needs and the role of work experience in accessing the labour market. The group make a series of recommendations to combat what many young people stated was a ‘sense of hopelessness’.
Megan Doherty, UK Youth Ambassador for Northern Ireland said, “Young people face a multitude of issues when they attempt to access the labour market in the UK. If we want to address these issues we must take meaningful steps to combat the concerns young people have highlighted.
“It cannot be right that any young person feels hopeless when thinking about their future career and I hope we’re able to use this report to drive change for our generation of young workers.”
Sarah Staples, Chair, British Youth Council the organisation that runs the programme said: “The work we’ve been doing to platform young people’s voice in Europe remains an important part of ensuring young people have a say in all the decision making.
“Young people across the UK are about to face a very challenging time in the labour market and I’m glad we’ve been able to highlight some of the existing inequalities which will only widen if they’re not combatted as part of our COVID-19 recovery plan.”
Following a nationwide consultation, a free university education has been declared the biggest priority for young people across the UK. The Make Your Mark ballot, which was delivered online, called on young people aged 11-18 to choose which issue they felt was a priority.
More than 180,000 young people took part in the nationwide ballot, showing that when given the opportunity young people will engage in democracy. The Make Your Mark ballot is run by the British Youth Council with support from Local Authorities, schools, UK Parliament, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. This year young people were able to vote for two issues, one issue they wanted the UK government or devolved administrations to prioritise and one issue they wanted local authorities to prioritise.
- Free University – We should invest in the young people of today by providing free university.
- Domestic Violence – lockdown has meant that many people have been trapped in homes that are dangerous for them. Families, and especially young people, could have faced more violence in 2020
Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council, said: “Make Your Mark is a brilliant opportunity for young people to say tell decision makers what they’re passionate about. It’s really important that young people’s voices are not only heard but acted upon!
“Access to universities and domestic violence are of great importance to young people, now I want to see decision makers take action to address these issues.”
The consultation would usually give young people across the country a say on what is to be debated on the green benches of the House of Commons by Members of Youth Parliament, however, due to the Coronavirus the Commons debate will not take place.
The sitting of Members of Youth Parliament is usually the only time anyone other than MPs debate on the famous green benches with MPs only recently granting access for this new term of Parliament.
Member of Youth Parliament will launch their new priority campaigns in early January 2021.
This Christmas the British Youth Council is seeking your support to ensure we can continue to empower young people during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. Your support will ensure young people continue to be heard on issues that affect them through online delivery and newly designed programmes.
Between midday Tuesday 1st December and midday Tuesday 8th December, all donations to the British Youth Council will be doubled by match funding!
So, if you give £25, we’ll receive £50, give £50, we’ll receive £100 and so on…
We are looking to raise £2,000 which will then be matched to give a grand total of £4,000!
Your support for the British Youth Council Big Give Appeal will be doubled.
Your donation will go towards providing essential equipment and training to continue to empower young people to be heard in a digital setting. This means young people will continue to be heard regardless of restrictions on physical events and meetings. Thank you!
You will have from midday on 1st December until midday on 8th December to make a donation which will be doubled. One donation. Twice the impact.
Your support will ensure young people can continue to be empowered to be heard on issues they care about during covid-19 and beyond. Thank you.
The Back Youth Alliance is a collaboration of senior leaders and youth representatives from some of the UK’s leading youth charities, working together to present a coherent voice to decision-makers with and for young people.
The youth sector gives critical support, providing a lifeline for many vulnerable young people, particularly those living in areas of deprivation. Yet at a time when young people most need this support, the youth sector is facing an unprecedented funding crisis.
We readily welcome the fact the Government has listened and announced a £16.5 million dedicated youth covid-19 support fund that will support youth organisations continuing to deliver through the winter months.
The Chancellor announced £100million to fund NCS and youth facilities in the Spending Review. This focus on investment in youth facilities is welcome at a time when youth service transformation and expansion is needed most. However there has been no mention of the £500 million Youth Investment Fund manifesto commitment which was promised over a year ago. Without confirmation of this funding, this means that delivering on the Government’s agenda of levelling up and providing transformational opportunities for young people is at risk and will be delayed for another year.
We are urgently seeking clarity around the status of the Youth Investment Fund, as for every year we delay in delivering the much needed revenue and capital funding for services, the more young people lose out, and the more society misses out on young people’s potential to help us build back better.
Youth Futures Foundation has announced a new partnership with the British Youth Council to put young people’s voices at the heart of all the not-for-profit’s activities. They are inviting charities and organisations working with young people who face barriers to employment to encourage them to apply.
Eleven young people will form the Future Voices Group, which will work with the staff team and Board of Directors to advise and feed into Youth Futures Foundation’s vision and strategy, the things it funds, its research, communications approach and partnerships.
The British Youth Council has been championing youth voice since its foundation over 70 years ago and will support members of the group. Youth Futures was established in 2019 with a remit to understand and share ‘what works’ to help young people who are most disadvantaged, have equitable access to quality jobs.
Alex Morawski, a Member of the Youth Futures Foundation’s Board of Non-Executive Directors and incoming Chair of the Future Voices Group said: ”The Future Voices Group not only gives young people a seat at the table, it invites them to lead the conversation on youth employment. This is an opportunity for young people to challenge the status quo and for their experiences to inform ambitious changes to remove the barriers to securing meaningful work which so many face.”
Sarah Staples, Chair of the British Youth Council, the charity helping to deliver the programme, said: “The global outbreak of coronavirus and its economic impacts mean unemployment will be a key concern of young people across the country.
“We’re really excited to be working with the Youth Futures Foundations to form the Future Voices Group. It’s really important that young people have an opportunity to influence the conversations surrounding youth unemployment. Young people want to be at the forefront of challenging the many barriers they face when trying to secure a fruitful career.”
Anyone interested in joining the Future Voices Group must be aged between 16 and 24 years, resident in England and have direct or indirect experience of facing barriers to gaining meaningful employment. Examples include being of ethnic minority heritage, a refugee or asylum seeker, having a special educational need, physical disability or long-term health condition or coming from a socio-economically deprived background.
UK Youth Parliament have launched their new ambitious vision for a better and more equal society. The independent group of advocates launched their new manifesto following a national conference which was held online for the first time in history.
The new manifesto highlights some of the biggest issues facing young people in the UK including some long-standing issues like reforming the curriculum to prepare students for life and other issues that have been prominent in the media such as combating discrimination and ending child poverty.
Alannah White, a member of the UK Youth Parliament’s Steering Group said “Members of Youth Parliament have worked together to produce a robust view of the kind of society young people wish to live in. Young people are very passionate about the change they wish to see and we’re very aware of the need to address some of the issues we face with urgency.
“We will work to lobby decision makers and others to achieve our ambitious vision for the country and the world.”
Members of Youth Parliament from across the UK came to together to debate new policies and campaigns at their Annual Conference. There are no political parties or adversarial opposition, but everyone has an independent vote and the emphasis is on persuasion, consensus and researched arguments.
The manifesto has been published during the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark campaign which will give young people across the UK the opportunity to tell decision makers which issues they feel are the biggest facing young people. The results of the campaign will inform the UK Youth Parliament next campaigns. This year Members of Youth Parliament have been campaigning to address knife crime and to combat the climate emergency.
Young people across the UK can now take part in the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest UK youth consultation of its kind. The month-long campaign, which launches as part of UK Parliament Week, will give young people the opportunity to declare the most important issues facing the country.
Make Your Mark gives young people aged 11-18 the chance to select one issue affecting individual nations or the UK and one issue affecting their local communities. For the first time since the campaigns inception, voting will only take place online due to the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus. The ballot includes issues such as climate change, tackling child poverty, mental health and hate crime.
Speaking on behalf of the UK Youth Parliament, Tessy Idemudia, said: “This is an opportunity for thousands of young people across the country to declare their priorities.
“Decision makers in every corner of the country will have an opportunity to not only listen to the concerns of young people but to act and make a difference. Young people are passionate about the issues that affect them, their families, and their communities. We want this year’s campaign to be a new catalyst for the changes we wish to see in the world.”
Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran said: “It’s more important than ever that we look out for our young people and in these challenging times, we want to make it easier for them to get their voices heard.
“The Make Your Mark ballot is a great way for young people to contribute their views on the big issues of the day, helping government to better reflect these in our decision making.”
This year’s nationwide campaign, which has taken place since 2011, is supported by the British Youth Council, UK Parliament and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The campaign is expected to reach thousands of young people with Members of Youth Parliament and volunteers across the country, inviting young people to take this opportunity to influence the government and decision makers in their communities. The results of the campaign will be brought to the attention of UK Government Ministers including Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran MBE, who is responsible for youth policy.