Our passion for social justice, combined with the increasing number of conversations we had been having with young adults about their daily experiences of injustice and their struggle to understand the systems and structures which overtly and covertly shape their experiences, led us to look for more structured opportunities to develop work with them around politics in its broadest sense.
At the heart of our project design was the idea that the participants should be co-creators of the project together with workers, something we planned to achieve through engaging in dialogue with the group throughout the project's processes, rather than devising a programme in advance without negotiation with the participants. We were very excited with the Archbishop of York Youth Trust chose to fund this work without a clear programme and outcomes defined in advance!
Politics group offered an open invitation to young adults from all three M13 neighbourhoods who had shown an interest in exploring political issues, along with M13 workers Gabriel, Helen and Danny. Some of the challenges young adults identified they experienced were lack of jobs, anger, poverty drugs, homelessness, injustice and inequality, hopelessness and their future. We explored the question:
"Are these personal troubles, as is propagated through certain parts of the media? Or are these public issues, experienced by many; a collective problem which affects wider communities due to deep-rooted systemic problems?"
Over a 6-month period, we explored and learned about a variety of issues, including:
We attended a DISCUSS Manchester debate and Gabe led another debate at MMU, which we participated in. We watched and discussed the film 'Pride', listened to a live performance from George the Poet and invited rapper and social activist, Akala to our group to discuss his view
We took a lead in instigating and taking action in the Manchester-wide Campaign to 'Keep the Youth Fund', which resulted in the City Council deciding to retain their funding for young people across the city, despite reduced Central Government funding to the Council.
The Project was transformative for workers and young adults alike - we were all more informed about political parties resulting in us all voting in the May 2015 General Election; participants discussed political issues with family and friends and were more able and motivated to take informed action.