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Not the usual suspects

4 Mar 2021
By Grant Poiner

One of reasons the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wales have helped shape this campaign with young people is because we saw how interested those we work with were during the last election campaign.

The young people we work with are not the usual suspects, and often no-one is listening to them.

So we organised a political hustings at the last Senedd Election so that young people could ask questions of politicians. We didn’t know how it would go, or how many we would get to turn up.

It was amazing.

We organised it in a trampoline park and the young people loved it. Even the politicians told us it was the best event they had done, and we even won two awards for the event for the Best Political Campaign in Wales, and a Youth Work Award.

The young people were aged 16 to 25 and from areas with high youth unemployment, social deprivation and financial constraints.

“Not the Usual Hustings” was held at Infinity Trampoline Park, Cardiff and hosted by BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat’s Steffan Powell.

More than 100 young people participated in the event and 6 candidates came to represent their parties at the debate.

Delegates presented questions on issues of importance to them personally: including educational outcomes for care leavers, support for foster children and wider national and global issues.

The event provided the young people with an opportunity to visit a market place, with various stalls from the political parties and organisations including NUS Wales and National Assembly for Wales.

It was a great way of encouraging them to gather information about different party policies ahead of the event.

Many of the young people changed their attitudes about politics following the event, with one young person saying that the project had “changed the way I see politics and politicians.”

As a result of being involved in the project, 70% of the young people said that they would vote if able to. 55% of the young people rated their knowledge of politics as being “good” following their involvement in the project.

We’re hoping to hold online versions this year, but for now, we’ll be hoping to spark online discussion between young people.

“I have learnt so much about myself, others and politics and conquered many fears along the way. This has been the best experience ever.” Ieuan Davies - 18

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