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“With children and young people at the table, we make better decisions”

"If I had the power to change one thing in my community, it would be to get more kids off the street, more gangs off the street and get them into things like The Hive."

"I'd let the world be a more equal place for people, 'cause it's not that diverse."

Just two of the answers to the question: “What would you do if you were Prime Minister?” from young people we interviewed as part of our #747 storytelling project – collecting the stories of seven Hive members who’ve been with us for the seven years since The Hive opened its doors.

They feel appropriate to share this morning, as votes are counted, results are declared and the next parliament shapes up.

Before the election campaign kicked off, we joined other charities from across the country in the #ChildrenAtTheTable coalition – a group of organisations all working to highlight the need to put the voices of children and young people front and centre of policy and decision-making, and to invest more of the nation’s wealth in babies, children and young people.

Some of the facts the coalition has shared:

  • Fewer than 4 in 10 children in the UK feel positive about the future of the country and the future of the world.
  • 4.3 million children in the UK are living in poverty – one million of these are living in extreme poverty. 65% of Hive members live in areas which are some of the most deprived in England
  • In 2022, more than 80,000 children in England were looked after by local authorities – an increase of 22% over the last 10 years. Almost 800 of them are here on the Wirral
  • 1.4 million children and young people have a probable mental health disorder. Mental health is one of the issues our young members talk to our team about most often – both in terms of challenges they’re experiencing personally, and as an issue they care about in the world.

It’s no secret that the last decade or so has been particularly turbulent for the youth work sector. Even before the pandemic, youth work was navigating the impact of severe cuts to real-terms funding for youth services. In the years since, the sector’s ability to respond – to COVID’s destructive impacts for young people’s mental health, engagement with school and social opportunities, the toll of the rising cost of living and the challenges of climate change – has been under significant pressure.

But this is also an opportunity. Our response to these issues is what will shape the skills and abilities of our future workforce; the health and happiness of individuals and families in our community in ten, twenty years time; and the way we think about our responsibilities to ourselves and each other as we move through the 2020s and beyond. Listening – really listening – to how young people now are experiencing the world, learning from their perspectives and always checking in on the impacts of decisions for their health and wellbeing should be government’s north star.

If government’s approach starts with the needs of children and young people, we’ll make better decisions now and for the future.

But don’t listen to me say it.

Watch this film and spot Hive ambassador George, who represented our members at the #ChildrenAtTheTable national event in Parliament in May. He pops up twice during the film making some fantastic points!

Jayne Wilson is our CEO

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