Pioneering local charities 42nd Street and YPAS launch a major initiative aimed at empowering young people to use their rights to address social injustice Young people facing a rising tide of housing,
money and mental health problems all too often encounter creaking public services that aren’t responsive to their needs and that fail to uphold their rights.
Young people complain of being fobbed off by council departments that were established to protect them, shut out of mental health services, exploited by employers, singled out for benefit sanctions – and ignored when they try to speak up.
Arguably, no previous generation has experienced a greater need for the skills to navigate ‘the system’ as part of negotiating a successful path to adulthood. Yet few young people are aware of their rights, how to assert them or where to go for advice.
A partnership of funders and leading youth advice charities has come together to pioneer an innovative approach. Make Our Rights Reality (MORR) will:
- Educate young people about their rights and responsibilities and how to tackle their everyday problems
- Support young people to work collectively in their communities to address social injustice
- Establish a national campaign network of young people speaking up for their rights
42nd Street in Manchester will be working with Young Persons Advisory Service in Liverpool to deliver MORR in this region.
Simone Spray, Chief Executive of 42nd Street in Manchester:
“Navigating complicated but essential health, social and welfare systems can be so complicated. By teaching Public Legal Education, young people will become better equipped with the tools to not only navigate these systems, but also to realise their rights and influence future developments and I am particularly excited about how this approach can help shape services for young people in the new political era of Devolution”
Monique Collier, Chief Executive of Young Persons Advisory Service:
“YPAS in Liverpool is excited to embark on this innovative MORR partnership journey with our colleagues from 42nd Street in response to the nationally recognised gaps of young people not being aware of their rights within a hierarchical system that impacts on their empowerment. Our North West hub will evidence what young people require in order to exercise their rights to address social justice by providing support and education.”
James Kenrick, Head of Policy and Development at Youth Access (the advice and counselling network), which is leading the MORR project, says:
“We hope this will be the start of a long-term social movement to connect young people with their rights and responsibilities as a vital part of their active engagement in civic society. We know from research that young people possess the lowest levels of ‘legal capability’ of any age group. As well as giving young people the tools to exercise their rights and responsibilities at critical points in their life, we want to support the youth and legal sectors to focus on rights as a tool for empowering young people – and on youth voice as a powerful tool for social change.”
Make Our Rights Reality (MORR) is a pioneering national programme designed to equip young people (aged 15-25) to take control of their problems and improve services in their communities by connecting them with their rights and responsibilities.
The project will take an innovative, integrated approach to public legal education and youth social action focussed on disadvantaged young people in community settings.
The programme will provide young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they will need to tackle their everyday rights-related problems.
It will give young people a national platform to campaign on their rights, encouraging a cultural shift in society’s attitude to young people and their rights.
It will give young people opportunities to take action in their communities on rights-based issues, so that they can address social injustice and create change.
RIGHTS + VOICE + ACTION = CHANGE!
As a result, we believe that young people will be empowered to engage in civic society as informed, responsible citizens with improved resilience, wellbeing and employability; and that public services will become more responsive to young people’s needs.
The project is coordinated by Youth Access, the advice and counselling network.
MORR’s programme of public legal education and youth social action will be delivered through three ‘hubs’ managed by highly respected youth advice services: