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22 July, 2004

Youth Act! features on BBC's Newsnight

Youth Act! participants from the Stonebridge Road Estate in Tottenham last night featured on BBC2’s Newsnight, as part of a package on active citizenship.

The group of seven boys aged 13-17 and their supporting youth workers explained how and why they are trying to improve facilities and safety, and the impact it has had on the local area and their own experiences.

The BBC filming has been a major boost for their campaign, prompting Haringey Council to clean up rubbish dumped on the estate – including fridges and mattresses.

"I found the inerview quite good because we got to say what we wanted to say and we got our voice heard by a lot of people that watched it", said Marcus, one of the group members.

"The whole Youth Act is a good idea, it gives you confidence to speak your mind and gives you better communication skills. Concidering how little time we have been doing it I think it is going very well. I think more people should get involved because it really does help with stuff like interviews and just in general."

Youth Act! is a pilot project from the Citizenship Foundation that aims to foster young people’s political engagement. Based on an internationally successful programme, it supports 11-18 year olds’ initiatives for change in their school, youth group or local community by providing free training to develop active citizenship skills – including campaigning strategies, advocacy and teamwork.

This Stonebridge Road Estate group is one of four participating in Youth Act! in Haringey and Islington this year, who have just completed their training programme. The programme will be available in South London in the Autumn and we ultimately hope the project will become national.Youth Act! in London is funded by the Bridge House Estates Trust Fund, the European Commission and Carnegie UK Trust.

Street Law Inc, a US charity, created the Youth Act! concept.

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