Monday, 8 February 2010

Young People vote YES to votes at 16!

Three vtalent volunteers went as young reporters to the high-profile Young Citizens’ Panel Debate on Politics, Economics and Citizenship organised by the Institute for Citizenship held at the Manchester Opera House on the 4th of February. Approximately 1,600 young people attended what was supposed to be the largest deliberative democracy event for young people outside London.

Several young people got the chance to quiz Dawn Butler MP (Minster for young Citizens and Youth Engagement), Baroness Warsi (Shadow Minister Community Cohesion and Social Action), Alvin Hall (TV Financial Guru), Neville Richardson (CEO, Co-operative Financial Services), and Geoff Thompson MBE (Five time karate World Champion and Executive Chairman, Youth Charter) on youth issues.

This was also an opportunity for the Institute of Citizenship to conduct a sub-regional survey of young people in the North West on whether they would like the voting age to be lowered to 16. In the end, approximately 66% of young people in the audience voted that they would vote in the upcoming general election this year. The vtalent young reporters were given exclusive back stage access and they also had the chance to interview a number of the panellists including Dawn Butler MP.

When asked whether votes should be lowered to the age of 16 after the PM Gordon Brown came out in favour for the policy, Butler replied, “I think young people all over the country deserve to have the debate on whether they feel that the voting age should be lowered to 16. I actually agree with the Prime Minster, that we will eventually get to a place, I think, where everyone will agree, but at the moment it is quite ambiguous….We need a really good comprehensive citizenship education in schools. We need to get that right first….When we get that right I think naturally [young] people would say, “Yes, I know enough! I would like to have my right to vote at 16!

Dawn Butler MP was also at the event to launch a new website on Youth Citizenship called 'Joinin' - . Although the venue was not entirely conducive for a completely focused atmosphere, the young reporters realised that the event was important as it gave young people the chance to be heard and to engage in politics. 

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Young Brits at Art

Back in November, me , Sophie and Emmanuel went to the Young Brits at art Launch. It was held in the Tate Modern. Young Brits at art is a national art competition. Anyone 11 -19 can enter, find out more at the Eqaulity and Human Rights Comission site.
At the launch we got to meet judges, including famous artist Alison Lapper as well as last years winners. You can hear more about it in the podcast we made. young brits at art podcast at MySpaceFileHosting.comyoung_brits_at_art_podcast.mp3

Friday, 15 January 2010

Write for the blog

If you'd like write a blog of your own, contact either or, and we'll send you an invite to be a blog author. Just tell us a bit about yourself and whether you have any links with BYC.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2010 year of the Tiger and we are already roaaaaring into action!

So... we have already been back in our BYC den at London Bridge for just over a week after a lovely Christmas and New years break. And we've already been mobilsed straight into action for what looks prepared to be a very busy and exciting module!

Without giving the game away too much we have lots of exciting stuff planned for the next few months. As I speak my fellow volunteers are busy emailing different regions across the UK that they are to represent in the run up to the BYC's General Election Manifesto launch!

But what is this manifesto I hear you cry?!

The BYC’s General Election Manifesto is a document created by and for young people across the UK. It outlines five main campaigns to help improve the lives of young people in the UK. The BYC wants politicians to support and push for these campaigns in the run up to the General Election.

The Manifesto is set to launch on 15th February 2010 and we want YOU to be there! It's set to be an amazing day. There is a rally at Westminster and lots more fun activities planned. For more information visit: However if you can not make it do not fear – you can still participate! It would be great if you could organise an event or take action in your own community to demonstrate your support and spread the word!

Here is the who's who of BYC regional representatives...

Siobhan - North West and North East.
Sophie N - South East
Joel - South East
Ravina - South East
Lucy - London and South West
Emmanuel - West Midlands and South West
Vicky - East of England
Kirby - East Midlands and Yorkshire & the Humber
Rose - Scotland and Yorkshire & the Humber
Sophie C - Wales and Northern Ireland.

We're all really looking forward to being your BYC regional representatives. We want to try and generate as much support for the manifesto as we can.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Speak up-what's YOUR view on votes at sixteen?

Here's the Power2010 website,

Check it out- If you agree with our last blog then get ready to start voting on the Power2010 website from the 18th January- so that Votes at Sixteen becomes part of their pledge.

Let's do it people!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Votes at Sixteen-You have the Power!

For BYC, Votes At Sixteen is a priority campaign and it’s part of our General Election manifesto.

We’ve submitted Votes at Sixteen as an idea to be discussed on Power 2010strong website. Power 2010 is an online campaign to identify 5 key ideas that will change the way we do politics in this country.

There’ll be a public vote to decide which of the ideas will make the final 5, forming the Power2010 Pledge, which will be signed by as many people as possible and taken to MPs, with the aim of making them commit to changing the face of politics.

When you’re sixteen, you aren’t mature enough to make an informed decision about who to vote for. You don’t know enough about politics or different parties. And you don’t see the point in voting anyway. Right?


How many times can sixteen year olds hear these kind of defeatist comments before they themselves start believing that there is no place for their views in politics?

It doesn’t make sense to say that you should only be allowed to vote when you have a thorough knowledge of political parties and policies- (most adults don’t).

It does make sense that you are the best person to represent your own experience.
And the government should make sure that you are able to engage with politics in a way that will allow you to represent your experience of what needs changing in society-by letting you vote now, as a sixteen year old, and not in two years time.

Issues like university fees, bullying, transport, local leisure services, education support-these are all issues that becomes less important to people as they age, because they affect them less and less.

Yet these are some the issues that affect the everyday lives of young people more than anyone else. It is important that they are represented to government if things are ever going to improve.

As young people we are the future, and our generation will be the ones running the country in years to come. The government needs to engage with young people now, show them that politics is relevant to them, and give them power to change their society-and a good way to start would be by giving them the vote. Simples.


Check out the Power 2010 website at to have your say about votes at sixteen and to take part in the public vote that starts on 18th January 2010.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Volunteers demand justice

Last week me, Joel and Siobhan went off to the Ministry of Justice for the launch of the young people's guide to rights and responsibilities. The guide is about the rights and responsibilites bill which will set out a bill of rights for UK citizens, and we got to take part in a debate about what we thought about it. It was a great day, we went on a tour of the house of commons with Dawn Butler, had lunch in Tessa Jowell's office and a photocall on the steps of number 10! And what's more was the debate got filmed by catch 21, you can check it out!