On International Youth Day, Jack Welch unpicks what he and fellow members of Young NCB are doing to have their say.
As this year’s International Youth Day celebrates the value of civic engagement, it is a timely reminder to take stock of the many challenges affecting young people across the UK and what the team at Young NCB see as their role in advocating for the organisation itself and beyond.
This month brought together a dozen activists in the cohort of Young NCB members to celebrate their achievements during the past year at a residential in Doncaster. It was also a chance to help NCB consider its future in the current political and socio-economic climate, as well as looking at how people beyond the sector could recognise how the diverse functions of the charity serve young people.
What does it mean to be ‘civically engaged’ though? While there may be no single definition, the value of young people’s participation in society to influence wider outcomes, which encourages their personal development as an asset to the community, would be a start. This is a good definition of what we do at Young NCB.
Some of the discussions at the residential, identified young people in the UK as more likely than ever to be facing economic disadvantage that will leave many of the most vulnerable without any safety net. As highlighted in NCB’s ‘Generation Next’ report last year, which found that less than two-fifths of those surveyed believed that their life would be better than their parents. Tougher restrictions on the welfare system and high debt after university are also likely to impact on the quality of life of children and young people; problems which will be picked up by charities such as NCB.
After extensive coverage of the collapse of Kids Company, the Young NCB group recognised the serious implications for the way charities would be able to do their work, with the fear that many in the course of this Parliament could close their doors and an increase in demand for those that are able to survive.
Without charities like NCB, the Young NCB members felt that their chances would be significantly worse as they would be deprived of an outlet to engage with decision-makers and other important forums.
While many more of the current generation of young people are responsible and keen to participate in civic engagement than at any other time, it cannot be forgotten that young people worldwide also face more uncertainty about their futures. Those in power must realise that the cost will be grave if they are unfairly penalised and not allowed to play their part.