27 January 2019 | ANALYSIS
Grassroots organisations are a fundamental part in trying to ignite the fire and spirit that lurks inside every young activist. Groups such as Momentum, Young Conservatives and the Young Liberals will be responsible for producing the next generation of politicians, advisors and commentators. However, when looking for a non-partisan organisation which sole purpose is to focus on youth engagement, rather than seek to instill their own party’s norms and values it can be difficult to come across such a body.
Back in 2016, a new youth organisation set out to change the way grassroots politics was conducted. They did so by being one of the first organisations to be solely set up and run by young adults, i.e. 16-25-year-olds. The only individuals who understand how the teenage mind works and what it is that frustrates youths more than anything is, in fact, other youths of a similar age. Alongside a team of other youth activists, Dan Lawes helped to create YouthPolitics UK. A simplistic grassroots organisation with four key aims. To engage, educate, debate and campaign. These four core principles have helped to establish the foundations as to what Dan and his team stand on.
Influencing government policy can be an arduous task at the best of times, something which Mr Rees-Mogg and ERG have proved time and time again. However, one of the first campaigns set up by YouthPolitics UK aimed to do just that, while maintaining a non-partisan status. #OnMyMind is led by Amy Dunning, where the aim has been to push the Government for more funding to youth mental health services. The campaign team has been working hard to link young adults with campaigns that interest them, building on the idea that if you apply your mind to something, then anything is possible. Alistair Campbell has endorsed the campaign.
Naturally, like all good grassroots organisations, growth has become a fundamental part in ensuring that they stay relevant as a body, but also allows them to focus on youth engagement in particular areas of the UK. Hence why next Wednesday, Sarmed Hyder and a group of other activists shall be launching YouthPolitics London. A new branch to the YouthPolitics UK organism. The aims and values will be similar to the national group. However, instead, the group shall be focusing on issues that concern London youths, on top of being able to engage them in the world of politics.
The launch will see key figures from the political world attending such as:
Mete Coban – CEO of MyLifeMySay and a key figure on Sadiq Khan’s Mayoral Selection campaign
Kayleigh Wainright – Head of Membership & Policy at UK Youth
Lewis Addlington-Lee – Deputy Chair of the British Youth Council
Rachael Farrington – CEO & Founder of Voting Counts
Jason Arthur – Associate Director of Strategy at Step Up to Serve
In case you were wondering, the event isn’t an invite-only affair. You can register for free by following this link:
The evening aims to celebrate and welcome the start of something new in London. It is an opportunity to help educate and inspire young Londoners on the issues that are critical to the well-being of society. It’s not a case of churning out the same issues linked to Brexit, but instead look at other factors such as knife crime, drugs, homelessness, education and even democracy.
In a time when politics is so tribal and based on emotions rather than policy, it seems only fitting that an organisation such as YouthPolitics UK is helping to educate and remind youngsters that there are far more pressing issues out there than the constant party disunity that is being projected in our media outlets. In the past two years, politics has managed to immerse itself into the world of pop culture. It has been soaked up by sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Meme and parody pages have been created to satirise those on both the left and right. In many ways, you could argue that it’s almost becoming uncool not to know about politics — something which YouthPolitics UK shall continue to capitalise on.
Ted Jeffery is a journalist and podcaster. Follow him on Twitter @TedJourno