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Young people challenged to get involved – “Tell us what you want”, says Minister

4 February 2010

Young People should take responsibility for their future and tell politicians their ideas, says the Minister for Youth Engagement and Citizenship.

In an official Government response to the independent Youth Citizenship Commission, Dawn Butler, has called for young people “to use their voice to tell us what they want.”

The report outlines the achievements of the Government in engaging young people, through initiatives such as the £220 million Youth Opportunities Fund, the £4.5 million youth4u young inspectors programme and the £272 million investment in the MYPLACE programme.

In total over £700 million has been invested in delivering activities for young people, allocated by the young people themselves. This outlines changes in policy to increase the levels of youth participation both locally and nationally.
As part of its response, the Government has today launched a new online hub for young people to access funding, information and local opportunities to support youth engagement. It can be found at

Dawn Butler, the Minister for Youth Citizenship and Engagement, challenged, said:

“There has been massive progress in engaging more young people and increasing youth citizenship, but there is a lot more to be done. We are committed to carrying on the work we have started, but it will really only take hold when our initiatives are driven by young people. 

“This is a call to action. I want young people to have their say. Whatever their ideas, we will be listening. If young people want a Citizenship Day, opportunities to volunteer, or to have their say on the big issues like lowering the voting age to 16, they need to tell us. The new website we are launching today will give young people greater access to the funding and tools they need to get involved.

“Young people are often portrayed as disengaged, disinterested and distant. I know that is not true and many young people work hard – locally and nationally – to help those around them and are making a real difference in their communities.

“Now is the time for young people to drive Government forward.”

Responding to the report, Professor Jon Tonge, Chair of the Youth Citizenship Commission and  Head of the Department of Politics at Liverpool University, said:

“I strongly welcome the Government’s very positive response to the recommendations of the Youth Citizenship Commission. The Commission argued for a number of proposals to develop active citizenship and political engagement amongst young people. By implementing these suggestions and bolstering existing initiatives, the Government will do much to empower young citizens and connect this generation permanently to democratic political life.”

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