The British Youth Council is calling on decision makers to bring an end to anti-Black police brutality in the UK, in an effort to address the longstanding problems of racism, injustice and police violence. The impassioned plea was announced following the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting, where members voted to actively support the movement for Black lives among many other important issues facing young people across the nation.
The youth-led charity, demands the UK government, Members of Parliament and other elected representatives address the solutions brought forward by grassroots campaigners and young people speaking out for an approach which addresses the root causes of the issues facing Black communities. The renewed and refined calls from the official national youth council come following a recent survey showing four out of five black Britons felt there was racial bias in UK policing.
Larissa Kennedy, Trustee of the British Youth Council said: “Anti-Black police brutality must come to an end in the UK but this can’t happen without a complete overhaul of the way we deliver public safety or without addressing the multitude of issues facing Black communities right across the country. We must recognise that more officers, arms, jails and prisons are not a solution to longstanding problems of racism, injustice and police violence.
“Decision makers must take steps to address the issues we face if they truly believe Black Lives Matter.”
Earlier in the summer, the British Youth Council expressed its discomfort and dismay at the murder of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis, calling on the UK Government to directly call out the abhorrent murder of another black person in the United States. It also stated the government must take steps to address deep-rooted racism in the UK.
More information about the new policies ratified by its members at the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting will be available in the coming weeks.
UK Youth Parliament will launch its annual ballot of young people on the 1st November 2020 as part of UK Parliament Week. The nation-wide ballot gives young people aged 11-18 the opportunity to shortlist the topics they feel are the most important issues facing young people across the UK.
Young people’s views will be gathered as part of a month-long campaign delivered by the British Youth Council in partnership with UK Parliament. The campaign, which has been running since 2011, has reached millions of young people with more than 850,000 young people from every corner of the country taking part in the Autumn of 2019. In previous years, shortlisted issues have been debated in the House of Commons chamber by Members of Youth Parliament.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair of the British Youth Council, the youth-led charity which coordinates UK Youth Parliament said: “Make Your Mark is an important opportunity for young people to be clear with decision makers about their priorities. Despite the global outbreak of Coronavirus, young people remain passionate about their communities and the world we live in.
“We’re delighted to be working with UK Parliament to deliver, what has become a milestone opportunity, to influence decision making at a local and national level. ”
Commenting on the partnership, David Clark, Head of Education and Engagement at UK Parliament said: “We’re excited to be supporting again the UK Youth Parliament with their annual Make Your Mark Campaign.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to engage in democracy and have their say on issues they care about the most. We look forward to be it being part of UK Parliament Week which starts on the 1st November 2020”
This year’s campaign will see Members of Youth Parliament and volunteers across the nation, invite young people to take this opportunity to have their say, influence the government and the decision-makers in their communities. Schools, colleges and youth groups who wish to participate in this year’s Make Your Mark campaign can register to take part. Schools and colleges have been an integral part of getting young people involved throughout previous campaigns.
The British Youth Council has reignited its efforts to ensure young people have the opportunities to influence social and political change during the global outbreak of Coronavirus. The youth-led charity states that decision makers should use the momentum and stories coming to light during International Youth Day to ensure young people have the chance to inform the decisions that affect their lives.
The Youth Voice programme, which has been delivered since the summer of 2011, will continue to provide young people across the UK with the skills and knowledge to influence public decision-making at a local and national level. This year’s programme will support young people to make a difference as volunteers, campaigners and leaders in their communities, enabling young people to bring about change digitally.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people remain passionate about the issues that affect them and their communities. We must persist that young people’s voices remain at the table to ensure their thoughts and concerns are taken into account and acted upon.
“We’re excited to continue offering young people opportunities to influence the decision making that is happening in their communities.”
As part of the programme, young people involved in local decision making will be given the chance to take part in topical debate and discussion within a series of ‘Big Conversations’. Some young people from programme will be brought together as part of the Young Leaders Collective. These young advocates, will join other British Youth Council members, to learn how to deliver and lead others to carry out social action effectively.
In the Autumn, thousands of young people across the country will be able to participate in the UK Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark campaign, the annual ballot of young people’s views on the biggest issues facing the UK. The campaign, which is supported by UK Parliament and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, creates a unique opportunity to reach out to young people who go on to be opinion formers and leaders of the future.
Young people continue to care passionately about tackling climate change, ending child poverty, improving mental health and lowering the voting age, according to the British Youth Council. The issues form some of the priorities the charity will pursue and advocate over the course of the coming year.
The British Youth Council are launching a new programme which aims to empower young leaders in social action. The Young Leaders Collective will bring together young people from across the UK to learn how to deliver and lead others to carry out social action effectively. The group will also get the opportunity to connect with a network of other young social action leaders who are passionate about delivering social and political change for their communities.
The youth-led charity has launched the initial Summer Series which is open young people aged 11-18 and will give young leaders the opportunity to address the issues of climate change and equality. During the series, young people will be equipped with the skills that enable them to become leaders of social action.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people remain passionate about their communities, the issues that affect them and those around them.
“I’m delighted that we’re able to, not only provide young people with the opportunity to develop their leadership, but also an opportunity to influence change on the important issues of climate change and equality.”
Climate change remains one of the highest priorities for young people, according to a nationwide ballot which took place last year. UK Youth Parliament launched a campaign calling on everyone to act urgently to halt the climate emergency. Issues of equality, such as LGBT+ rights and racism have also been a recurring issue amongst youth voice activists.
The British Youth Council welcomes the Chancellor’s latest announcement in Parliament confirming the government’s £2bn “kick start” scheme. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the government’s plan to launch the new fund with the intention of creating more jobs for young people by subsiding wages for up-to six months.
Research from the Resolution Foundation claims young people have been more likely to lose work since the outbreak of Coronavirus. One-third of 18-24 year old employees have lost jobs or been furloughed, compared to one-in-six prime-age adults. Similarly, 35 per cent of non-full-time student 18-24-year-old employees are earning less than they did prior to the outbreak.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people have been significantly affected by the impact of Coronavirus, with many losing their jobs, some earning much less and others being put on furlough.
“This is a welcome move from the government to get young people working, and the Chancellor must go further if we are to address the significant impact Coronavirus is having on young people.”
The National Youth Council, also welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to encourage businesses to hire more young apprentices, with a new payment of £2,000. The British Youth Council believes this will allow young people the opportunity to learn about working life and the working environment and to gain experience in particular jobs. However, the government will need to do more if it is to truly to support the prosperity of young people. To fully support young people, the government should compel businesses to comply with the living wage as set-out by the Living Wage Foundation. All work must at the very least provide a route out of poverty and this cannot be done when young people are significantly underpaid.
The British Youth Council were reassured to see measures announced that would encourage business to provide work experience to trainees but urged the government to ensure the recovery from the crisis isn’t placed on the shoulders of young people. Unless young people are also paid a living wage for the work that they are doing as a part of this programme, this may become an attempt to take the work of young people and exploit it for the benefit of everyone else. The government must ensure young people will see the benefit of the £1,000 investment, but it must all assure young people that these opportunities are meaningful and inclusive.
The youth-led charity has been highlighting the impact Coronavirus has had on young people living across the UK. Speaking on behalf of its members, the charity asserts that young people must continue to have a voice within this crisis so multitude of issues they’re facing can be addressed.
The government have been urged by the British Youth Council’s Youth Steering Group to collaborate with young people to tackle the climate change emergency. The group have stated a youth engagement strategy, designed in collaboration with a diverse range of young people and organisations, should be established if the government want to tackle climate change effectively.
The report, which was submitted to officials at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will be used to aid decision-making on the government’s plan to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050. Last year, climate change was declared the biggest issue facing young people in a nationwide ballot of more than 825,000 young people.
Liv Eren, a member of the Youth Steering Group said: “If the government wants to tackle the climate change emergency, it must work with young people to address it. Our group have worked to come up with a comprehensive report that should help the government to take the right steps to not only involve young people but also inspire others to take action on this important issue.”
The group recommends that young people are empowered to participate in environmental action without feeling as though it is their responsibility entirely. It also suggests that the government explore the feasibility of developing a network of climate champions who can become strong environmental advocates within their own communities. The recommendations came about following several sessions with senior officials and Ministers from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year.
The Youth Steering Group were established with new funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as part of a wider effort by the British Youth Council to take young people’s voices to the heart of government. The group of young people aged between 15 and 24 was set up last year to help shape national policy. The youth-led charity has been working with The Mix, Youth Focus North West, Youth Focus: North East and Youth Work Unit in Yorkshire and Humber to deliver the project.
Young people from across the country will be invited to share their views on key issues with the government using a new digital platform launched today (2 July).
The ‘Involved’ Instagram page will be a major step in engaging young people aged 13-25 around decisions made at the heart of government, by asking questions through the app’s polling and stories functions.
Responses will then feed directly into live public consultations and wider policy making across government departments.
The tool, supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and managed by the British Youth Council, has been designed by a group of 30 young people aged between 15 and 24 set up last year to offer a youth perspective on decisions made in government.
The Youth Steering Group has already provided valuable advice to Ministers on issues including youth violence, volunteering, youth services and the coronavirus outbreak.
In the coming weeks young people will be invited to respond to a range of questions on the ‘Involved’ page regarding the impact coronavirus has had on their lives.
For example, young people will be asked how they feel about social distancing measures, what support they would like in accessing information about coronavirus and what extra help they feel they need during this time.
Harley Taylor, of the Youth Steering Group, said: “Young people are passionate about seeing social change in their communities and must be able to participate in the decision making of government. Involved will serve as an important opportunity to gauge young people’s views on the hot topics within government.”
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society said: “Young people often feel like it is hard to get their voices heard. Involved will give them an easy way to contribute their views on issues that matter to them, helping our decisions as Ministers to reflect these better.
“This commitment to involve young people’s views in policymaking is part of our ambitious, long-term plan to support them to thrive as we rebuild and recover from the coronavirus outbreak.”
The tool follows the Chancellor’s announcement last year of a £500 million Youth Investment Fund for the five years from April 2020, to give young people somewhere to go, something positive to do and someone to speak to.
The Youth Steering Group is currently recruiting for new members. Young people aged 16-25 are encouraged to apply in writing, by video message or voice note. Get in touch for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close on 12th July 2020.
The British Youth Council is looking for people aged 16-25 who are motivated by a belief in the work of the British Youth Council to achieve our vision of the world where all young people are respected and able to influence and inform decisions that affect their lives or on which they have strong opinions.
The British Youth Council really is governed by young people for young people. Our board of trustees is made up of 13 people who are elected or appointed. The board not only sets the strategic direction of the organisation, but they also monitor progress, shape our activities and act as ambassadors and spokespeople for the British Youth Council in the media and elsewhere.
While your first goal as a trustee is to serve your peers and the British Youth Council, it is also a way to build your experience and networks, develop a broad range of skills and help shape the future of a world where all young people have a say and are heard.
We would encourage all ages to apply to bring both representations of those we serve alongside experience of governance. The British Youth Council needs a diverse, inclusive spread of ages and talents.
The deadline for applications is Monday 20th July 2020 at 9am.
The British Youth Council express discomfort and dismay at the murder of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis. The UK Government must directly call out the abhorrent murder of another black person in the United States but it must also take steps to address deep-rooted racism in the UK. The statement follows widespread calls for an end to police brutality against black Americans.
The British Youth Council believes that black young people living in the UK should be treated equally in our communities and in society, stressing that the law should ensure this is the case. The youth-led charity repeats calls for the government to address racism in the UK. According to the charities own research, racism remains a prevalent issue in the lives of young people. The charity also found people’s attitudes towards racism have become normalised, suggesting the government needs to do more to address racism.
Larissa Kennedy, Trustee of the British Youth Council said: “Black young people continue to face the abhorrent scourge of racism, and despite having rights enshrined in law, racism continues to remain prevalent in everyday life of many people living in the UK.
“Young people have repeatedly made demands for political action on this issue and yet we have not seen any meaningful changes. From the police brutality that has taken Black lives, to the Windrush scandal and the hostile environment that has destroyed Black communities, it is clear that change is needed. It’s with that in mind, that this government must take steps to address deep-rooted racism in the UK because black young people deserve better.”
The British Youth Council are also concerned to learn about the findings of Public Health England’s investigation into the disproportionate number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic deaths during the outbreak of Coronavirus. The report concludes there were a combination of factors but explicitly states that the impact Coronavirus has replicated existing health inequalities and, in some cases, has increased them. The national youth council, which is mandated by the views of its members, calls on the government to make a comprehensive response to the report, taking direct action to address the issues that have been highlighted.
The British Youth Council is calling for the government to address some of the issues that have become more prevalent as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. Decision makers up and down the country must make provisions to ensure young people’s voices are heard so issues which have been highlighted by the current crisis can be resolved.
Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, Chair, British Youth Council said: “Young people remain passionate about seeing social and political change for their communities, and now is not the time to ignore their voices.
“As the government continues to make unprecedented decisions that affect the lives of young people, the government must make attempts to speak directly with young people and address the issues that affect them.”
The youth-led charity stands in support of all of the key workers across the UK, particularly those working for the NHS, striving to provide essential services and keep us safe. Early indications since the global spread of Coronavirus, suggest the inequalities faced by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people across our health service remain an issue. The British Youth Council continues to believe health care settings should remain a safe, suitable and youth-friendly environment where possible. The current crisis has highlighted the ways in which chronic underfunding has led to inequalities in access to health care. Young people in insecure work and those who are socially and geographically isolated remain a concern for our members. We can not forget to address these issues of access and inequality in the wake of Coronavirus.
The crisis has further highlighted the need for increased mental health support for young people. The British Youth Council calls on the UK Government to create an open door policy within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. This approach would ensure that young people experiencing a mental health crisis can always access the support they need. We call for mental health support which is age-appropriate, youth-friendly and accessible both locally and nationally for 16-25 year olds.
Further to the vital work of our health service, in recent weeks there has been a huge uptake in applications for Universal Credit. In the last two weeks of March, almost a million people successfully applied for Universal Credit. Families will be facing extra financial burdens at this time with children out of school and changes in employment for parents and young people themselves. The British Youth Council believes that now is the time for the UK Government to increase support for child benefits and increase the rate received for younger children to the same rate received for the oldest child. Raising the child benefit level for the younger children in a large family is a simple and direct way of increasing vital support at a time of increased financial strain. This is particularly pertinent because larger families are more likely to be in poverty. Young people and families who have been placed under additional stress due to Coronavirus require this additional support.
We believe all of these issues could be more easily addressed if the government created a Minister for Young People. The creation of this ministerial position would ensure that someone within government was always seeking to bring youth voice into policymaking. We call on the government to immediately appoint a Minister for Young People who will be able to listen to the voices of young people and take real action to address their concerns.