Policy and Public Affairs round-up – July 2023

24 August 2023

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This is our regular policy and public affairs round-up blog, covering what the team have been up to here at UK Youth, what young people have been saying, and what is coming up in the next couple of months.

We would love to hear from you so please get in touch if you have any questions, thoughts or ideas to share with the team!

What have we been up to?

Early in July, UK Youth ran our Training Week, providing sessions for youth organisations and youth workers on a range of topics. We ran two sessions on policy and influencing, one focused on beginning policy and influencing work and one aimed at organisations with more experience in campaigning and advocacy. Keep an eye out for any future sessions!

Our CEO, Ndidi Okezie, was invited along with other Youth Sector Leaders to a roundtable discussion with Lucy Frazer MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to discuss the way in which Government can support young people – it was a fruitful discussion and the Minister was receptive to the points made, we look forward to seeing the next steps from this.

We were also pleased to support Ndidi in her new role on the Government’s Cultural Education Plan Advisory Panel, the first meeting in July saw sector leaders, Ministers and a range of other experts come together to discuss how to ensure all young people have access to high quality cultural education, including through youth work and outdoor learning.

We also attended a range of All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) events this month, including the APPG on Youth Affairs launch of their report on Empowering Youth for the Future of Work. You can hear more about this report in our recent employability policy update. We also attended the APPG on Charities and Volunteering, talking about priorities for the upcoming Autumn budget.

On the 19th July we attended Secretary of State Lucy Frazer MP’s speech at Onward. We were pleased to hear her talk about the need for all young people to have a place to go, something to do, and someone to talk to – something we feel youth work fulfils. It was a delight to be able to take our youth representative, Kevin McKenna, along.

We got the opportunity to ask her about engagement with youth voice, and bringing young people into politics. Her speech focused on how the Government would achieve these three aims, through mentoring, bursaries for youth workers, funding for sports centres and activities, investment in facilities, and working together through communities and schools.

One of our Thriving Minds grantees, Pride Action North, also met with Ian Lavery MP at their youth organisation to show him the fantastic work they have been doing to support young people’s mental health!

It has been a pleasure to attend a number of events across the sector this month, including Youth Futures Foundation’s launch of their Youth Employment Toolkit, the Centre for Education and Youth’s event on resilience and recovery, and the National Lottery Community Fund’s launch of their new strategy.

We were also able to head down to Kent to see Keir Starmer’s speech on breaking down barriers to opportunity for young people. We are looking forward to seeing more detail on how youth work can play a pivotal part in the development of young people!

Finally, we rounded up July with an event on youth loneliness in Barnsley, where we shared an update on policy change within the loneliness space over recent years and months.

What have young people been saying?

We have been hearing from young people about a range of issues this month, please do get in touch if you have any comments on policy updates to share or if you would like to be more involved!

Kevin attended the speech by Lucy Frazer MP, reflecting ‘she did seem to have a genuine interest in wanting to make the lives of young people better. It was good that she took on what we discussed with Stuart Andrew MP at the round table event, about working cross government to include young people in decisions that affect them.’

He added ‘I would love for her to do a round table similar to what Stuart Andrew did, so that she can meet young people 1:1 and really hear them. I felt at the event there were too many adults and not many young people, getting their voices directly across to her.’

What’s on the horizon?

We are working on resources for youth organisations and young people to support advocacy and influencing work at a local and national level. Do get in touch if you have any views as to what you would need regarding resources and training!

Our outdoor learning report is well underway, and we are very grateful to be speaking to a number of youth organisations and outdoor learning centres to hear their insights on how policy can support access to outdoor learning for young people.

Please get in touch by emailing kate.roberts@ukyouth.org with any feedback you have on the content of our Policy and Public Affairs round-up, as well as any ideas/reflections you would like to share to feed into our policy and public affairs work.

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