News Date: Sunday 3rd January 2010
Tim Loughton MP pledges to involve young people in politics
Tim Loughton MPjoined young people at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the success of a Barnardo’s project that works with young people to increase their political awareness and encourage them to vote.
At the reception Tim Loughton MPspoke to young people involved with the Barnardo’s project and heard about issues that are important to them, such as homelessness and street crime. They were a given the opportunity to make a pledge to engage with young people.
Tim made the following pledge for the young people in East Worthing and Shoreham:
I pledge to educate young people about what Parliamentarians do and how we work on issues that affect them
I pledge to use my influence as a Parliamentarian to actively promote issues that are important to socially excluded young people
I pledge to volunteer time to engage with young people in my community, such as in schools and youth clubs
I pledge to create an online forum on a social networking site or on my own website to engage with young people
Commenting, Tim said:
‘This was a marvellous opportunity to chat to young people about policies and politics. Contrary to popular opinion young people are highly engaged in political life – just not in the conventional sense. We need to make sure that first-time voters find their way to the polling booths, otherwise we rise losing a whole democratic generation.’
Young people spoke about the positive impact that Barnardo’s has had on their lives. The Do Politix project has not only raised the political awareness of socially excluded young people, but it has also increased their self-esteem, skills, and most importantly their aspirations.
One young person said:
“I wouldn’t have had the knowledge or skills I have now without Barnardo’s Do Politix. Finding out that I could make a difference kept me interested. I am more confident to go out there and speak to MPs and make a real difference.”
Another young person said:
“I have a great sense of achievement knowing that I have helped to improve the lives of other young people who are like me”
Maureen Wales, Manager of the project said:
“We have supported ‘hard to reach’ young people who, prior to the project, were unlikely to vote or to feel that politics affects their own lives.”