Youth Act! new school year, new round
2 new groups have been inspired to participate in Youth Act, a scheme which aims to increase young people’s ability to bring about social and political change in their community. Commencing their training in early October through attendance at a residential weekend and 6 weeks of evening training, the groups are:
• 20 students, Kingsdale School, Southwark with 2 learning mentors
• 20 students, Lambeth College with 2 tutors.
Youth Act! is an active citizenship and political literacy project for 11-18 year olds, offering training in the skills of problem solving, team building and cooperation, influencing decision-makers, communication, fundraising and campaigning. It is a Citizenship Foundation project, an independent educational charity which focuses on engaging individuals in society through political and legal education.
Youth Act! is made possible by supportive adults, who give their time to work with the young people and who benefit as much from the training as those they are helping do. Two of the new adult supporters this year, Geoff Leslie and Jevon Moo-Young, say, “We believe that Youth Act will provide an effective platform in which young people can use their voices to effect change in local and wider communities. We can’t wait to be a part of that.”
“There are few things more inspiring than people deciding it is their business to try and tackle a problem for the sake of everyone. We are all eager to start a new round of Youth Act and working with yet more positive, productive groups,” says Carrie Supple, Youth Act project manager, Citizenship Foundation.
These ‘productive’ young people have tackled issues of paramount importance such as gun crime, mobile phone theft, racism, bullying, teenage pregnancy, improving school meals and improving their local estates. The groups have won and been nominated for many awards including Philip Lawrence, Deutsche Bank Spotlight and Wavemakers. Some of the Youth Act participants from previous years have commented upon the real difference that the projects have made to them and their local communities in deprived areas of London.
Haja, aged 16, Southwark, who worked on an anti-bullying project, a crucial issue in schools today, comments, “Youth Act means a lot to me as it has brought out qualities in me I never knew I had and helped me to achieve things I never thought I could. My Youth Act achievements will always be very important and close to me”.
Yasemin, aged 15, from Haringey, whose team continues to focus on the devastating gun-crime issue, says, “We were taught how to talk to people in positions of power and really came together as a team…The thing I found most difficult was dealing with negative comments, like people saying it would never work and we were wasting our time, but we’ve proved them wrong!”
In 2004 the Citizenship Foundation asked independent evaluators, 3 Consultancy to evaluate Youth Act. Their research led them to report that, “Such work is needed now more than ever. The Youth Act! pilot has had a marked effect on young people’s confidence and motivation to participate. It has succeeded in enabling them to engage in social and political action in their communities and demonstrates that this is a scheme which warrants attention and resources.”
Since its inception in 2002, Youth Act! has been rolled out in Haringey, Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. Youth Act is funded by The Bridge House Estates Trust Fund, Deutsche Bank and the Carnegie UK Trust. Youth Act has recently received funding to develop plans for national roll-out.
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Notes for editors:About the Citizenship Foundation
The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no. 801360) which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society. Founded in 1989, we focus particularly on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk
Our work includes:
• A comprehensive range of citizenship resources for a wide audience from teachers to young offenders
• Nationwide and international training programmes
• National active learning projects for secondary schools
• Community projects to develop citizenship education as a collective responsibility
• Research to advance our understanding of best practice in citizenship education.