Who stands for youth?

A call for better collaboration to influence youth policy in London

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Young people seeking an independent life in London today face the greatest scale of challenge in generations. From the housing and rental crisis to the deficit of appropriate jobs, it is clearly evidenced that the downward spiral of conditions faced by young people is not stopping of its own accord. Much of this is shaped and can be influenced by policy. However, in the Catch-22 between young people that see no point in voting if policy makers don’t represent their interests and policy makers that see little value in representing young people’s interests when so few young people vote, the opportunity to correct the course has stalled.

With young people not equipped to fully represent themselves, the youth sector has an extra responsibility: not just to support young people, but also to champion and protect their rights. The sector is made up of many different styles of organisation, yet they are unified in their dedication to the young people they serve and the unique sensitivity and insight they have into their challenges and needs. But youth sector organisations themselves are also in a time of significant challenge. From drastic and unpredictable changes in funding to a lobbying act which threatens to fine voices that speak out too loudly on policy, it is understandable that many youth advocates feel discouraged.

The aim of this report is to illustrate how the lives of young people are shaped by policy, and how greater collaboration in the efforts of youth sector organisations can help overcome the barriers they face.

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