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Dhanda: young people 'let down' by older generation

Dhanda: young people 'let down' by older generation

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND SKILLS News Release (2007/0114) issued by The Government News Network on 25 June 2007

Youth Minister Opens Summit and Launches Third Sector Strategy

Young people in England are increasingly feeling let down by and isolated from the older generation - this was one of the tough messages from the nation's youth, delivered by Young People's Minister Parmjit Dhanda at the first annual Youth Summit.

Delivering the findings of his recent tour, where he met with groups of young people from around the country, he related some of the key issues that came up in conversation:

* Young people feel sorely misrepresented by both the media and older generations;

* They would rather have positive things to do than 'hang out on street corners' or be involved in anti-social behaviour;

* Facilities for young people need to reflect the changing world - the traditional youth centre is often not enough.

He also unveiled a new Department for Education and Skills' engagement strategy, with an action plan for involving the third sector.

As part of the summit, Young People Now magazine released a MORI analysis of the media's treatment of young people. Previous research has shown that over 70 percent of press stories about young people are negative.

Parmjit Dhanda said:

"Despite all the negative stereotypes, young people in this country are switched on, getting involved and achieving. It's time we started recognising that. Give young people opportunities and they will exceed your expectations. Ignore them, dismiss them, treat them as second class citizens and yes, they may not turn out to be exemplary citizens.

"My recent tour around England confirmed that they are bright and articulate, with plenty of good ideas and much to give.

"More teenagers take part in informal volunteering than any other age group -that is why one of the objectives of our new Third Sector Strategy is to harness that enthusiasm by making it easier for young people to get involved in volunteering, by forging closer links between schools and the third sector."

Over June Parmjit Dhanda visited groups of young people all around the country including: Sunderland, Eastbourne, Bolton, Hastings, Bristol, Nottingham and finishing up in the Hollyoaks studios in Liverpool, to find out their views. Some of the projects were funded through the Youth Opportunity and Youth Capital Funds - £115 million over 2 years to provide young people with more choice and influence over decisions about provision and facilities in their area.

The new Third Sector Engagement Strategy and Action Plan plans to make the third sector at the heart of DfES business, and its aims include:

* the inclusion of social enterprise in the education curriculum at Key Stage 3 and 4;

* the introduction of social enterprise as a business model in GCSE Business Studies and Citizenship, in Diplomas and in A level Business Studies

* to encourage more third sector sponsors for Academies;

* to get young people involved in volunteering through schools;

* to help the third sector to supply more services to local authorities; and

* to get the third sector more involved in major policy making at appropriate local and national levels

In July 2005, DfES published Youth Matters which set out plans to radically reshape services for young people, ensuring they receive personalised advice and guidance - with targeted help and support for young people who are most at risk, and ensuring access to a wide range of positive activities including volunteering to develop the personal and social skills that are needed to thrive in today's society. Parmjit Dhanda's national tour was part of the commitment to keep Government up to date and in touch with young people.

NOTES TO EDITORS

* The Youth Summit, organised by the National Youth Agency (NYA), involves around 300 key players in the youth sector, including Tom Wylie, chief executive of the NYA and Justice minister Bridget Prentice. The event is chaired by Kim Catcheside - the BBC's education correspondent. The NYA also facilitated the attendance of around 100 young people.

* The DfES also commissioned the NYA to undertake 3 dialogue events across the country which enabled groups of up to 30 young people to discuss with Parmjit Dhanda the issues around the activities that they undertake. A report on the events will be published in August.

* The DfES Third Sector Strategy will be published on our website: http://www.dfes.gov.uk

* The NYA Youth Summit lasts from Monday 25 June to Tuesday 26 June, at the New Connaught Rooms, London. See: http://www.youthsummit.co.uk

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