Michael Blake, part of Spirit of 2012’s Youth Advisory Panel, was delighted to hear this week of the announcement by the government of a new Youth Charter to set out a vision for young people over the next generation and beyond.
What was most encouraging about the announcement was the inclusion of leading youth organisations as well as young people in the planning and design of the Charter. It is absolutely vital that the people who will be affected by the changes this Charter could bring are also part of its development.
There are so many issues currently affecting young people, from mental ill health to loneliness to the rise in knife crime and criminal exploitation. Young people can give valid input on the strategic ways to solve these problems – I know this first-hand, as I’ve seen it for myself during my time on Spirit’s YAP.
Many of the projects we support are led by young people, who have a hugely positive effect on their peers. There are many reasons for the success of these programs but one defining feature is that they are delivered by young people with lived experience of difficult issues.
Michael (far right) with some of his YAP colleagues
This special insight and knowledge helps in the design and creation of the most impactful and innovative projects.
It appears that the Youth Charter will set out in the same way, with youth organisations and young people playing an active part in creating it. I’m hopeful that this type of working can be considered across all government policy involving young people in the future, including sport, arts and education.
I was also glad to see there will be extra funding for youth-focused projects. Entrepreneurship and social enterprise are becoming increasingly popular routes for young people entering work, and I’m hopeful the Youth Charter will help expand this as part of its vision.
The issues facing young people are complex and cannot be fixed with a one-size-fits-all policy or law.
The announcement of this Youth Charter can be an important first step in dealing with the challenges young people face, wherever they are from – both for this generation and ones further in the future. I look forward to seeing what solutions the Youth Charter will devise.
To read more on the Youth Charter, click here.