Conservatives secure future of UK Youth Parliament

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The UK Youth Parliament has around 300 members. Picture: UKYP

Established 25 years ago, the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) is made up of more than 300 young people aged between 11 and 18 years, elected as Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) to represent the views of their peers.

Young people across the UK will continue to have their say on the issues that matter most to them, following the announcement that the Government has appointed the National Youth Agency (NYA) as the new body to run the UKYP for 2024/25. 

Young people vote for their MYPs in elections every two years, which are held in over 70% of constituencies, and often in schools. 

It has given thousands of young people opportunities to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning on vital issues, ranging from climate change to mental health. Members meet regularly, including through an annual debate in the House of Commons. 

Elected members also lobby the UK Parliament to take action on the subjects that matter most to those they represent. In 2023, the UKYP launched its campaign for Universal Free School Meals. The campaign was then used as the basis for the UKYP House of Commons sitting in 2023, where young people debated five key topics under the topic of Free School Meals.

Since 2011, the Government has funded the British Youth Council to deliver the UKYP programme. Following its closure in March 2024, the Conservative Government has worked rapidly to secure the future of UKYP, ensuring young people can continue to participate in the programme. 

Minister for Civil Society and Youth, Stuart Andrew, said:

The Youth Parliament is a vitally important way for young people to become politically engaged and have their say on the issues that matter to them. It has also proven to have a positive impact in developing their confidence and leadership skills.

By securing the future of the Youth Parliament for the coming year, we are underlining how the Government is absolutely committed to creating opportunities for young people’s voices to be heard as voters and politicians of the future.

Minister for Civil Society and Youth, Stuart Andrew.

The NYA is a charity that works in partnership with organisations to support and improve services for young people, with a particular focus on youth work. They offer guidance, support, advice and staff development opportunities for youth workers and youth work organisations.

The NYA will work with existing delivery partners, the regional youth work units in England, the Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Wales, and consultants in Northern Ireland, to run the UKYP for 2024/25.

Leigh Middleton, Chief Executive of the National Youth Agency said: 

Ensuring that young people have a voice on the issues that matter to them and being able to influence decision makers is a fundamental principle of youth work. We have moved swiftly to ensure that the necessary platforms are in place so that the Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPS) can meet throughout the year, alongside the support provided by local authorities and regional youth work units.

Through the Make Your Mark survey and other activities undertaken regionally, the MYPs will continue to make a valuable contribution towards political debate on youth matters, whilst developing their skills and confidence in the process.

Ellie Bealing MYP, Member of Youth Parliament for Somerset 2022 – Present said:

The National Youth Agency’s appointment secures youth voice across the UK, at a time in which its need is great. As MYPs, our work can continue with the knowledge of national recognition and the opportunity to unite as committed young people. Youth Parliament has proven that it is vital to allow our generation to speak of the issues that motivate us, empowering others and gaining the attention of changemakers.

Haydn Cutler MYP, Member of Youth Parliament for Kent 2022 – Present said:

It is great to hear that the important work of UKYP will continue, with our organisation essential in the continuance of youth voice within UK politics, and I know the NYA will continue to enable this. From the discussions I’ve had, it is clear today’s announcement will bring relief to many fellow MYPs, and I would like to give my thanks to all who worked tirelessly for this outcome.

Jamie Burrell, UK Youth Parliament Steering Group said:

Since BYC announced their closure, the Steering Group, the programme’s young leaders, have been working to ensure that Members of Youth Parliament will be able to take up their roles and make a difference in their communities and beyond. I’m delighted that the National Youth Agency will deliver that this year and I’m committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure a sustainable long-term future for the UK Youth Parliament.

Funding for the UK Youth Parliament programme builds on the Government’s commitment to providing every young person with the opportunity to have the best start in life and to maximise their potential. 

In 2022, the Government announced its ‘National Youth Guarantee’, that every young person aged 11 to 18 years old in England will have access to regular clubs and activities, adventures away from home, and volunteering opportunities by 2025, backed by an investment of more than £500 million. 

As part of this, the Government has allocated £12 million to the #iwill Fund, which enables more young people to take part in social action via activities such as volunteering and fundraising. Funding has created over 60,000 opportunities for young people to get involved.  

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