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Rebel Researchers Takeover Parliament
Published: 24 Nov 2014
The ‘Rebel Researchers’ have, for the last year, been researching whether young people feel they are listened to and heard by decision makers and politicians. They made use of the Parliament Takeover Day to launch their findings to Labour MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Poverty, Kate Green.
The ‘Rebel Researchers’ are 12 young women from Tower Hamlets and Hackney mentored by Rys Farthing from The University of Oxford as part of Toynbee Hall's 'Barnett Fellowship'. They looked specifically on how young people from deprived areas, marginalised young women and minorities are excluded from politics.
Their findings were hard hitting. In their report, compiled after surveying peers and holding focus groups, the common theme was that being listened to and being heard are very different things. That most young people feel that they are not heard or listened to in traditional politics, local politics or youth clubs. They only felt they could speak about important issues on social media, in school and at home but only felt heard in the later two. The report also showed that young people feel that politics is not for people like them, that participation in politics is dependent on age, class/income, gender, area, grades and ethnicity.
During the Takeover, Rebel Researchers Humaira and Shakila presented the findings to attendees before asking the floor for solutions to the issues. Idea’s included a young people’s Champion, more youth led projects and allowing pupils to participate in politics on the basis of interest and enthusiasm rather than grades.
They concluded the report by saying;
“Young people feel voiceless and unable to make change and it is not young people who need to change to become more interested in politics, but the institutions to take young people’s views more seriously”.