Wales Manifesto - Democracy and Engagement

We believe that everyone should have a voice within society and be engaged fully in the democratic process.

This manifesto represents the voices of individuals and communities right across Wales, and YMCA would like to thank all of those who shared their stories, experiences and views to help in its development.

Through this manifesto, YMCA wants to challenge the status quo that too often sees the voices of marginalised groups forgotten by national decision makers. This is why YMCA is calling on all people from across Wales and the Welsh Government to join us in amplifying these voices to ensure they are heard and acted upon.

The young people we work with are passionate, articulate and active within their communities. This is why YMCA is a long standing partner in the Votes at 16 coalition and believes the Welsh Government should do all it can ensure 16 and 17-year-olds get the right to vote and stand in future Welsh elections.

YMCA is calling for the Welsh Government to appoint a Minister responsible for children and young people to help cement young people’s voices at the heart of the decisions taken within the Assembly and to ensure it meets its duties set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As well as young people, YMCA is also dedicated to seeing other marginalised communities in which we work, such as LBGT groups and people who are homeless, having their voices heard by decision makers.

For this reason, we are calling on the Welsh Government to increase support for initiatives within communities that give these marginalised groups a voice and get them engaged in the democratic process.

This involvement in decision making should not be limited to the borders of Wales, but instead should extend internationally with marginalised groups such as young people being encouraged to play an active role in the global community.

Young people tell us that when they are provided with the space to explore the international dimension to their lives, they are further empowered to involve themselves in their communities as active global citizens. The Welsh Government should, therefore, increase the support for initiatives that promote marginalised young people’s inclusion in international issues, such as the Wales for Africa programme.

YMCA wants to see everyone have a stake in society and make informed choices as active citizens. We are calling on the Welsh Government to be the one that truly puts the people at the heart of decision making to help transform lives and communities right across Wales.


  • Lobby for powers that reduce the voting and candidate age for all Welsh elections to 16.
  • Appoint a Minister for Children and Young People.
  • Support community-based initiatives that engage marginalised groups in the democratic process.
  • Maintain the Wales for Africa programme and enhance its initiatives for youth participation in global citizenship such as Hub Cymru Africa.