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Dialogue to Action
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Dialogue to Action (DTA) strengthened the British Youth Council's work and provided a unique opportunity for youth policy dialogue, youth empowerment and to amplify and cascade youth voice and action locally, nationally and in Europe. This project: 1. Improved youth policy and practice by bringing young people and decision-makers together for policy dialogue and mutual learning 2. Empowered young people, particularly those with fewer opportunities, through skills development and knowledge sharing 3. Multiplied impact, locally through cascade actions, and to European level by integrating with the UK programme of Structured Dialogue. The Dialogue to Action events engaged young people in a process that started with learning and gaining a deeper understanding of the issues and the context of their participation. Participants also gained relevant skills to support their voice and action before entering into dialogue with decision-makers and influences, about new and creative ways to engage and support young people. All participants were able to contribute to focus groups carried out on behalf of the UK Government, and the subsequent reports were submitted by BYC as evidence of young people's views to relevant Select Committees, therefore directly turning dialogue into action and influence. Finally, both the young participants and the decision-makers were supported to make pledges and plans to take their learning and ideas forward. 600 young people participated in 7 Dialogue to Action events. We targeted groups that have been identified through the Structured Dialogue research as having the most barriers to political participation. This includes: young carers and parents, young people in care, young people experiencing rural isolation, young people with learning difficulties, refugees and asylum seekers and those with low confidence. 48% of young participants identified themselves as belonging to at least one disadvantaged or minority group (including young offenders, young carers, young people in or leaving care, and young people who have been homeless) or facing particular challenges in their lives (issues with alcohol and drug misuse, mental health problems). This project has had a long term impact on and increased the skills, confidence and personal empowerment of the 600 young people who participated directly in the events, 48% of which were young people with fewer opportunities. They gained the skills, knowledge and attitudes set out above, but the overall personal development is more than the sum of these parts. They shared that they feel a greater sense of empowerment through engaging in dialogue with decision-makers and their peers, being listening to and sharing ways of moving from dialogue to action. This confidence building is crucial for young people’s well being and their transition to independence and their lives as active citizens.
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