Young people have a ‘huge appetite’ for political engagement, says campaigner

Thursday 6 October 2011

On stage at the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday, Danny Bartlett, founder of Hands Up Who’s Bored, told delegates that young people have a ‘huge appetite’ for political engagement and that citizenship has become ‘the fastest growing GCSE subject’.

Although they are often portrayed as being apathetic, Danny believes young people are just bored by the culture of politics. He used the recent riots clean-up as an example of young people taking positive action.

‘Whatever happens with citizenship education, I want the government to ensure that political literacy lies at the heart [of it],’ he said.

Danny is backed by Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates. In a video released this week, Reggie tells Danny why it’s ‘incredibly important’ to keep citizenship in the school curriculum:

‘Not only does it give young people an opportunity to learn about the things that make their living environments the way that they are, but also it gives them an opportunity to have a say, to have a voice and to engage as well; and as well as that, engage on their terms,’ he says.

‘That’s the thing that I think is really, really exciting about it, and the fact that it could go away is a scary thought.’

‘I think that citizenship opens up a young person’s mind to the things that they care about and makes them understand that politics actually can affect their living environment, it can affect the skate park that they go to, it can affect the council estate that they live in, it can affect the amount of money that’s put in a single mum’s pocket every single month. And these are the things that citizenship is really important for.

‘Taking away that horrible, distant ‘man in a suit’ sort of thing that goes with politics and opening it up and making it broader, and also making it accessible, which is what citizenship does, I think is incredibly important.’

Hands Up Who’s Bored, one of o2’s Think Big projects, is Danny’s campaign to promote political education and a Democratic Life supporter.

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