Despite the fact that decisions taken by politicians at a national and local level affect their daily lives, young people are rarely given the opportunity to have their voices heard. The YMCA works with many young people and aims to give each of them a voice.
The YMCA wants to recognise the positive contribution that young people make to communities and society as a whole – as opposed to the constant stream of media coverage that serves to portray young people in nothing but a negative light.
Our aim is to ensure that young people can make a vital contribution to their community, giving them a real chance to have a say on issues and influence the policy agenda.
The YMCA is a co-founder and organiser of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Youth Affairs. The All Party Group brings together MPs and Peers in Parliament with young people to debate the issues that affect young people’s lives.
The All Party Group meets several times a year, often inviting a senior member of the Government or Parliament to join them.
So far in 2011 the All Party Group has heard from Tim Loughton MP, the Minister responsible for Children and Families at the Department for Education, and Graham Stuart MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education.
The 2010 General Election left us with a hung parliament and the first coalition government since the Second World War. In preparation for the 2010 General Election YMCAs across England produced the YMCA Manifesto. It highlighted to political parties and candidates the priority areas for the YMCA and it forms the basis of the policy work that we undertake with the Government and MPs.
Empower young people with the right skills and education
By removing barriers to apprenticeships, enabling young people's participation in decisions that affect them and streamlining the provision of information, advice and guidance.
By providing more opportunities for family mediation, continuing public financial support for children's centres and supporting voluntary sector organisations in the delivery of services that complement formal education.
Provide suitable accommodation for young people
By reforming the housing benefit system to appropriately incentivise work and training and encourage local authorities to provide high quality integrated support and accommodation.
Promote physical activity as a key part of the preventative health agenda
By attracting children, young people and those who are harder to engage in physical activity programmes through the provision of world-class facilities, activities and a broad range of community-based opportunities.
Download the YMCA Manifesto.
Many long standing MPs will be aware and supportive of the work that the YMCA undertakes. As a result of the 2010 General Election 227 new MPs were elected to Parliament and we are therefore working to ensure that all MPs have the opportunity to see for themselves what a difference the work of YMCAs make to the lives of young people.
An MP can advocate for the YMCA, introduce the YMCA to other organisations working in the local community, and act as a support if a local problem needs to be resolved. In addition, because an MP has national responsibilities, he or she can influence legislation and government policy.
Part of YMCA England's role is to respond to Government consultations that affect young people, those who benefit from our services and YMCAs. The Policy and Research team responds to consultations, where appropriate, from all Government departments and has responded to consultations on the following areas:
All-Party Parliamentary Groups
Department for Business Innovation and Skills
Department for Communities and Local Government
Department for Education
Department of Health
Managing overweight and obesity in Children - National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) with National Health Service
Department for Work and Pensions
Work and Pensions Committee