The Scout Speak Up Events were big for Scout Radio this year. We attended 3 events at each of the political party conferences at opposite ends of the country to get the views of young people in Scouting on issues that they told us were important to them. We also recorded live question and answer sessions, so our listeners could get a taste of the party conference events from the comfort of their home.
First up was the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow. Scout Radio met with a group of Scouts who attended the event and spoke to them about the questions they would be looking to ask the MP’s in the panel debates. High on the agenda was tuition fees, with many of the Scouts we spoke to concerned that they wouldn’t be able to afford going to university and that degrees now are perhaps not as valuable as they once were. In the debate it was clear that the young people had all the skills necessary to put their point across assertively and the Scouts weren’t shy about holding the MP’s to account. Speaking to Scouts after the event, they were pleased to have this rare opportunity to have access to prominent decision makers and told us they felt their voices were really being heard.
Next up was the Labour party conference in Brighton, more specifically at the end of Brighton Pier! This time, Scouts were addressed by Lisa Nandy, Labour MP, who had taken the time to prepare a speech about the issues she felt were facing young people today; she chose to speak about employment. She was facing a prepared audience, many of the Scouts had lots to talk to her about as they were facing their own hardships, some finding it difficult to finance apprenticeships, some struggling to find even minimum wage employment.
The Scouts were also joined by a range of MP’s from the other political parties to talk about how young people could be more active in tackling problems facing their own communities, they formed small focus groups and tackled a range of issues pertinent to their local area and came up with a range of ideas for making sure MP’s are accessible to young people. Jaz, a Scout from Enfield ended the day by encouraging everyone with a burning issue to get to know who their MP is and to write to them.
Last stop was the Conservative Conference in Manchester. Scout Radio and the Scout’s Speak Up team congregated in the Town Hall to meet a panel of MP’s , who put themselves forward to be grilled by another group of Scouts. This event seemed to focus on the wider issues, such as sex education in schools, Apprenticeships, Bursaries, Travel Expenses for Colleges and also recognition for volunteering.
Wayne Bulpitt, UK Chief Commissioner, was on hand for Scouts to ask him anything, and he was more than happy to answer their many queries, even taking a seat at the Q&A tables.
All of this was captured and broadcast by Scout Radio to cover the highlights of these important events and to spread the word about the issues that are important to the young people in Scouting.
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