Posted: 29 November 2019

Young people must be at the heart of this election

Children won’t have a vote in this election, but they do have a voice. Our young trustee Bilkis is calling on party leaders to put children and young people at the heart of this election campaign.

She writes on behalf of us and other leading children’s charities, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, NCB and NSPCC, who are working hard together to make sure that children and young people are heard during this campaign.

A society shaped right at an early stage is a successful one

If we start to put money towards a child’s development and learning in their earlier years, with increased funding in youth centres and clubs, this could increase beneficial engagement between young people - leading to a decrease in gang affiliation and anti-social behaviour in the community. There needs to be a real push in investing time and money into creating ways for us to learn life skills in order to build meaningful connections and communities.

If the government and politicians understood the importance of early intervention, there would be less crime and less child exploitation, such as county lines, grooming and knife violence. There would be no need to pump more money into young offender’s institutes, emergency services and police. I believe that this is vital, especially as more and more outreach and youth centres are closing down due to budget cuts, while the number of children and youth related issues are on the increase.

'...we are the leaders of tomorrow.'

It’s something that I see everyday - youth are spending their time being unproductive. This can be for a range of reasons, such as lacking in positive role models, especially at home, poor mental health and the stigma that society has placed on young people. That is not to say that they are not accountable for their actions, however young people need positive guidance and the people in power should help to do that, as we are the leaders of tomorrow. A society that is shaped right at an early stage is a successful one.

Right now, I honestly don't have hope for the future

I feel strongly about this as it’s something that can be easily avoided and changed. As it stands right now I honestly don’t have hope for the future. As a young person I don’t feel listened to, or that the society we live in is supporting our future leaders or other young people and children. There needs to be more involvement and communication with the youth of today.

'As a young person, I don't feel listened to...'

This can be done by creating safe spaces, increased funding to services and actually taking into consideration how young people can help in order to generate a stable functioning society. A big step towards this is involvement in nurturing the minds and the spaces in which young people and children reside in, from their homes and schools to well-being centres and youth clubs. All this will give us a better and brighter future and allow young people to grow and contribute positively towards their communities and society as a whole.

We need to be heard but listened to as well

What I have hope for is that children and youth will continue to express their beliefs and speak up against the disadvantages that seem to define us, but not cage us. Ultimately we need to be heard but listened to as well, treat us as your equal and we will have trust and faith in politicians to carry out what is best for young people and the people of this country.

ASK YOUR NEXT MP TO PRIORITISE YOUNG PEOPLE'S ISSUES

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