Be Active Shape Europe Project by Lewisham

Funded by the Europe Union through the Europe for Citizens Fund the Young Mayor Team are part of a project called Be Active Shape Europe. It is a partnership led by an organisation called Kedith in Thessalonikki in Greece. The other partners are Santa Maria da Feira in Portugal who we do lots of work with, Association” Varna – European Youth Capital” in Bulgaria, Mladinski Cultural Center, Maribor in Slovenia and Comune di Cinisello Blasamo in Italy.

The project started last year and so far we have take part in the first two activities heree in Lewisham. Which has meant organising a”structured dialogue” meeting and a National workshop, inviting young people to participate, identify issues and how then to share those and negotiate with politicians and policy makers, locally nationally and in Europe. The Young Mayor Team work closely with local politicians so this was an opportunity to see how to widen that influence into Europe. It was also an opportunity to learn more about Europe and specifically think about the UKs position in terms of Brexit and what that might mean. Schools were invited to participate, the events took place on 10th May 2019 and the 3rd February 2020 at the Civic Suite in Catford.

Main Objective: Enhance young citizens’ participation so they can contribute to society and political life, and learn about the experiences of others in different European countries


  1. Structured Dialogue in each partner: with young people, civil society, Local Authorities and stakeholders about European Union and the next period 2021-2027.


  1. National workshops in each partner: between policy makers, stakeholders on relevant policy issues and young people aiming to create a Guide on problematic and proposals for the support of democratic engagement, direct democracy and youth engagement.


  1. Transnational Conferences: Activate participation of young people based on the principles of non-formal education. They will learn about others’ culture on Environmental policy, but also how to meet, accept, share their ideas, to show an interest in cooperation and communication with citizens from other European countries.


  1. Transnational Workshop in Thessaloniki: The project Be Active – Shape Europe be the basis for future initiatives and actions between the towns involved, on the issues addressed or possibly on further issues of common interest.


The final two elements of the project have been postponed because of Covid 19 but are an opportunity for older young people (18-30) who have been involved to travel and meet their peers from the other participating countries, share their ideas and experiences, build soildarity and understanding. For more information please get in touch.

For more details contact Katy Brown, Advisor to the Young Mayor, Young Mayor Team, London Borough of Lewisham,1st Floor, Laurence House, Catford, London, UK SE6 4UT

T:02083146313 M:0957198312

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National Workshop Date of Workshop: Monday February 3rd, 2020, Jacob Sakil and Nicholas Gunner (YMT)

For our second event, the National workshsop, for the Be Active – Shape Europe project our team in Lewisham created and facilitated a workshop for young people who live in the borough of Lewisham. The outcome was to youth participants an introduction to primary ideals of the European Union and to work with politicians and policy makers to influence change and be active citizens.

Workshop Outline[1]

As part of the workshop we started with an introduction to the primary ideals of the European Union along with some icebreakers to start to give the youth participants an opportunity to explore what they already know and build a safe space to discuss individual thoughts and experiences based on the topic of what citizenship means and being a part of Europe.

Conversations & Debate

Going forward in the workshop with the young people we discussed what countries are a part of the European Union, facts about the EU and what it was set up to do and how that information filters into their daily lives both on a formal and informal level. Many of the young people had varying knowledge in terms of what they’ve been told, experienced versus facts such as policy making and their human rights and how that is observed both nationally and internationally.


Within our workshop we also delivered activities where the young people were able to brainstorm what it meant to them to be an ‘active citizen’ and how they have in the past taken part in regional and local programs that allowed them to be a part of civic life. Some young people have been active locally and others were keen to find out and talk to politicians and policy makers.

Throughout the workshop the youth participants took part in debates based on various statements relating to the overall workshop objective. This provided a space for young people to fact check and challenge biases whilst sharing good practices of youth participation based on personal experiences. Some examples were of young people who have been a part of Erasmus + exchanges and taking part in trips to the European council.


In the end the young people who participated all had a greater understanding both about what the European institutions are and what it means to them to be European. As well as being active in Lewisham and the UK it helped them understand how they can be active citizens in Europe and in the world. Many of the young people have parents and family who are part of the diaspora from the Caribbean or from west Africa, and also have family in other parts of Europe, it helped them to think about what is important about being European for them as individuals and as part of communities.

Brexit has obviously been a huge topic of discussion and speculation for young people trying to work out what it means for them and their families. So good debate was had but it is still difficult to draw conclusions as we all know it is an ongoing and very complex process. The young people now have a better fundamental understanding of the context and possibilities, which they can use to inform their decisions, discussions and actions in the future. As active citizens they are in a better place to interact and work with politicians and policy makers about the changes they would like to see locally, nationally and in Europe. Local politicians and policy makers are very supportive and have met with the young people to discuss their intereste, ideas and concerns


[1]First slide from our presentation used to set the scene for the workshop.

Al via le iscrizioni dei giovani per la call del workshop Be Active – Shape Europe!

E’ partita da martedì 5 novembre la “Call” per partecipare al workshop “Be Active – Shape Europe!” che si terrà a Chiavenna dal 29 novembre al 1 dicembre.

Il tema principale del workshop sarà “la partecipazione attiva dei giovani” alla vita della città.

Venti giovani cinisellesi di età compresa tra i 18 e i 30 anni avranno tre giorni di tempo per confrontarsi sulle strategie che facilitano la cittadinanza attiva dei giovani e per costruire un percorso partecipato a Cinisello Balsamo.

Obiettivo è trovare modalità efficaci per il coinvolgimento dei giovani cittadini affinché si relazionino in maniera costruttiva con gli amministratori locali. “Be Active – Shape Europe” è un progetto finanziato dal Programma Europeo “Europa per i Cittadini” e si sta sviluppando parallelamente in Grecia, Regno Unito, Slovenia, Portogallo e Bulgaria, capofila del progetto è il Comune di Salonicco.

La partecipazione al laboratorio residenziale che si terrà a Chiavenna è totalmente gratuita basta iscriversi compilando il form sulla pagina web di Pagine Giovani-Comune di Cinisello Balsamo.

Conclusa l’esperienza a Chiavenna verrà selezionata una delegazione di almeno 5 partecipanti che proseguirà il percorso di “Be Active – Shape Europe”, prendendo parte gratuitamente ai workshop residenziali a Salonicco, in Grecia, insieme a ragazzi provenienti dagli altri 5 paesi partner.

Così l’assessore alle politiche giovanili Daniela Maggi: «Il percorso non si esaurisce con la partecipazione ai workshop residenziali e il progetto è più ambizioso».

Prosegue Maggi: «Dopo la giunta aperta, che si è tenuta a maggio del 2019, vogliamo creare uno spazio permanente di incontro tra giovani e amministratori e dar voce soprattutto a coloro i quali non sono mai stati coinvolti in momenti di cittadinanza attiva o di volontariato».

Le iscrizioni termineranno mercoledì 20 novembre.


Il giorno 25 ottobre 2019, lo staff dell’ ufficio Politiche Giovanili del Comune di Cinisello Balsamo, grazie al supporto dell’Assessore alle Politiche Giovanili Daniela Maggi, ha organizzato l’incontro di presentazione del Workshop residenziale del progetto “Be Active-Shape Europe”, finanziato dalla Commissione Europea tramite programma “Europa per i Cittadini”.

Ringraziamo per la presenza all’incontro le associazioni, gli oratori e le reti del Terzo Settore che svolgono un ruolo importante e prezioso nell’articolare e proporre spazi di libera espressione della creatività giovanile.

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On the date 4th July 2019 was organized and successfully concluded the activity of the first “Be Active Shape Europe” phase, a project financed by the European Commission within the “Europe for Citizens” Program that aims to bring together young people and policy makers, promoting at the same time the active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity among young people.

The Structured Dialogue, already developed in other and various local realities, thanks to support of the project partners of Greece, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Portugal and Bulgaria, for the first time in history of the Cinisello Balsamo municipality has been organized as a meeting between Giacomo Ghilardi, Major of the city , and the City council members with representatives of the young residents of the city. The meeting was held at the Executive Boardroom on the first floor of the Municipality.

During the meeting that was organized by the operators and interns of the Civil Service of the Youth Policy Department of Cinisello Balsamo municipality , were expressed the ideas, visions and necessities of youngsters in the city in order to make the city a better place to live. It was also a moment of sharing the reasons why, until now, there has been a gap between youth realities and decision makers, discussing over the creation of a channel for the open communication along with the local administration representatives. The mechanism would be a sort of a permanent 2 ways direction tool that would allow both sides to have an open and constant dialogue, which will influence and motivate the youngsters to participate more actively in the future city development.

The willingness that has been shown by the Major and the City Council members for evolution of the future project proposals was extremely important and appreciated by the city youngsters who will continue the path through the intense workshop, which will be organized and guided in the following months, in order to formulate tools and suggestions to present as a model at the European level.

The spirit of initiative shown by the youngsters and positively highly valued by the local administration representatives has outlined a historic moment and turning point for the municipality, which already for years, stands for the important example at national level when it comes to youth related policies. It was agreed that youth participation as a chance to get their opinions taken into account and have their views taken seriously is crucial for the creation of better services in order to meet their aspirations, rights and needs.

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