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 the first two activities took place here in Lewisham. It meant organising two days of activities in our council building, the Civic Suite: 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 6th May 2019 and the 3rd February 2020 at the Civic Suite in Catford.
The Structured Dialogue took place on 6th May 2019 10am – 3pm
Young People identifying what is important to them, how to be active locally in democratic processes. Gaining an understanding of local decision making and meeting with stakeholders. Developing young people’s understanding of European values. Introducing the partner countries and exploring intercultural understandings and areas for learning and participation.
An opportunity also to talk to local politicians about their views on Europe and the Brexit situation. It was useful in terms of the Brexit situation and having an opportunity to think and talk about what that would mean for them and the UK as a whole. It has been very divisive in the UK, but the majority of young people in Lewisham have families and friends in different areas of the world and Europe, as its a diverse population, so most were keen to remain part of the EU.
The National Meeting took place on the 3rd Feb 2020 5-8pm
This involved young people exploring what being European means, learning about European institutions and how young people can work with their local politicians and European representatives. Identifying policy issues that young people can take forward locally and share with partners, young people, local politicians and decision makers. Many policy issues were raised form safety, wellbeing and education to employment and training and housing. Developing policy ideas and relationships with stakeholders and politicians.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 were postponed because of Covid 19 but took place virtually in 2021. They were an opportunity for older young people (18-30) who have been involved to meet their peers from the other participating countries, share their ideas and experiences, build solidarity and understanding. And participate in simulations of the European Parliament. Final report attached below