As a young person growing up in 70s London I always used to hear the calls of the older generation saying that you should vote because our fathers fought for your Right to vote. I used to look at those saying this and think to my self that none of this applies to me as my father and grand fathers fought different battles. The only thing I was aware of that related to voting was for an independent Africa (Ghana and Nigeria), which was a vote with no sensible and obvious alternatives. This lack of a sensible alternative paradoxically reflects the current choice of political candidacy today, bringing me to my point about the importance of young people voting and registering, even if this means you are not happy with what’s on offer.

My passion for politics and voting didn’t come from school but rather by being involved in my community as member of a youth club. It was there where I learnt to campaign for things that faceless people wanted to take away from us. Not only this but a useful combination of involvement in the 1981 riots, hearing the political sounds of heroes like Bob Marley and Fela Kuti and that being a time when hip hop had a message. This all coalesced to teach me the importance of having a voice even if you knew you were not being heard. This begs the question, have things moved on today? Even when our young people are exposed to the USAs first black president? Something that our visionaries thought we would never see.

In the 80s my growing interest in politics was not supported by my education in an inner London state school, which hasn’t changed today as our curriculum contains nothing that helps young people break down and decipher the importance of voting, much less what political parties mean and stand for. However my work at BPACT Voyage keeps me connected to young people and I have been amazed to hear what they would do if young people were given power by getting involved in politics at a high level. I was surprised to hear how they would not invest the welfare budget, slash arts, sport and leisure and stop paying MPs but thankfully they mostly want to protect the health service, increase investment in education and housing as well as champion a greener environment and perhaps more importantly prioritize the eradication of racism and introduce a much fairer criminal justice system.

With that being said, and knowing over 3.5 million young people will be eligible to vote for the first time, there are thin margins between the 3 main parties with all parties committed to deeper austerity measures and no identifiable and meaningful policies for our young, it’s a no brainer young people bite the ballot and use their vote to make change.

Listening to passionate and emerging individuals like Micheal Sani (Bite the Ballot), Duro Oye (2020 Change) and a much younger inspired leader Kenny Imafidon (Kenny Report 1, 2 & 3) I am convinced its time our young people and particularly young black people begin to use their vote to campaign for real change. This change must complement a campaign for the voting age to be reduced as well as sit alongside a relevant and richer educational curriculum that engages young people whilst showing how politics governs almost every thing.

Irrespective of the political climate today, in which the major parties are marginal variations on the same spectrum, the youth hold the power for the future of the UK and addressing the issues that concern them and future generations. By voting and making your voice heard today, you can form a country you wish for yourselves and future generations, one that can grow with the changing social landscape, as opposed to conserving the archaic ideologies that have lead to the ruin of major social institutions which included services and provision for youth and communities.

So what ever you do don’t forget to vote or at least register to vote…

Paul Anderson MBE

VOYAGE CEO

On 18 May 2015, I’ll be participating in the London Super Hero 10k Run for my favourite Charity “BPACT VOYAGE” and I’m hoping to raise a total of £1000. I’ve chosen to support BPACT VOYAGE because VOYAGE does fantastic work helping young black and minority ethnic people age 14 to become exemplary leaders who go out to create change in their communities. VOYAGEs mission is to attract the funds required to subsidise 100 young people from 6 London Boroughs.

Voyage aims to create 100 inspired leaders through its:

  1. 2 day induction programme bringing 100 young people together
  2. 3 day weekend residential trip to wales – building the team and preparing 100 young people to study in September.
  3. 10 weeks of dedicated study in September at weekends for young people to receive a BTEC level 2 qualification
  4. a high quality graduation evening event in London’s City Hall

Click on this link to donate and support our worthy cause. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=paulanderson9&pageUrl=3

If you are interested in joining me either running or cycling please do get in touch as I have additional places this May and places for London to Brighton Cycle ride this September. Kindly contact me by email for more. paul@voyageyouth.com

I look forward to hearing from you.

On behalf of our Trustees and myself (CEO) a proud father I want to extend my love, thanks and blessings to my business minded daughters Nasiriyah and Nenah and their mother Nazneen for a hugely successful cake sale held on the 9th April 2015. VOYAGE raised a total of £120 which will towards the subsidising of free places for young people taking part in our leadership programme for 2015.

This is also a fantastic opportunity to thank the lovely and very kind people who work in the CAN Mezzanine office and their guests for their support in purchasing our home made cakes. Im sure we will be doing this again in the not to distant future. Thanks again…

Akala – Racism is a business. Its marketing is so successful that even Akala looks sideways at a young black man holding a lot of cash. These racial assumptions lead to ‘everyday’ racism – daily encounters and micro-agressions. It’s time to recognise the relationship between top-down propaganda and the bias that we all carry.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2015/mar/18/everyday-racism-what-should-we-do

 

Creative Access is looking for talented young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to fill paid internship places at many of the UK’s top media organisations.

http://creativeaccess.org.uk/events/creative-access-set-to-host-creative-industries-showcase-at-channel-4

Hear about how Gwenton made a transition from Hackney Gangs to the BAFTA Awards. A totally inspired journey reminding us that your potential is powerful and limitless.

http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/hackney_ex_gangster_on_moving_from_gangs_to_book_awards_1_3973853

We still don’t know how many BME young men and women have been hit by a tasers according to figures recently announced. But we know that the youngest person shot with the 50,000-volt stun gun was 14, research from BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast found, while police threatened to deploy the weapon on a boy as young as 11.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/use-of-police-tasers-on-children-rises-37-in-a-year-10067988.html

The Reach Society present a day when professional men from the Black community interact with young people, aged 14 plus, to inspire them; we welcome parents & carers

Thursday, 9th April 2015, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

Central Hall Westminster, London, SW1H 9NH

http://www.reachsociety.com

On behalf of our Trustees I want to you to help me welcome Giuseppe Vacarro our YBPA coordinator hailing all the way from sunny Brent. Giuseppe brings a huge amount of experience as a play, youth and community worker and is a qualified Football coach and first aider. Giuseppe’s main mission with us at VOYAGE is to network with our past and present graduates and link them to initiatives that help progress young people toward positive and progressive futures. Make contact with Giuseppe at YBPA@voyageyouth.com.

BPACT VOYAGE is partnering with London foremost Creative Youth Agency Bigga Fish to nurture the creation of street teams and volunteers through the production of a new and exciting Youth Festival taking place in November 2015. Bigga Fish has given VOYAGE the exclusive role bringing to bare its young leaders on the development, production and management of this new Festival. Our YBPA Coordinator will be taking a contingent down to the Olympic Park on the 21st Feb to find out more.

http://biggafish.com/2015/01/work-londons-1st-youth-festival-queen-elizabeth-olympic-park/Bigga Fish are looking for the most enthusiastic and creative 14-25 year olds in London interested in:

  • MUSIC
  • DANCE
  • FASHION
  • ENTERPRISE

THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU:

This is a massive opportunity for you to gain great work experience through planning, programming, marketing and evaluating the festival whilst having fun at the same time!

WHAT YOU GET:

You will receive a Silver Arts Award accreditation at the end of the programme which looks great on your CV and University applications.