YOUNG PEOPLE special feature: Are they ghosts in the political machine? TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE? We ask young people what they will do in 2015
ws e i v r I n t e KOSHEEN
MEDIATORS MAKING TRACKS
RO F S O OT
Independent Peopleâ€™s Quarterly Magazine 1 i-people Autumn
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CONTENTS 3... A word from the chief 4-5... Mediation 7... Making tracks 8... Voting-is it worth it? 9... Youth Board/Parliament 10... Register to vote 11... Who gives an X? 12-15... Living wage 18... Think. Make. Do. 19-21... Sleep out 22... Hitch or ditch 23... Useful Numbers
Head Office Kingsley Hall 59 Old Market Street, Bristol, BS2 0ER 0117 317 8800 firstname.lastname@example.org South Gloucestershire 23 The Parade Coniston Road Patchway Bristol BS34 5LP 01454 865 732 email@example.com St Georges House 101 St Georges Road Hotwells Bristol BS1 5UP 0117 927 6600 firstname.lastname@example.org Bristol Foyer 2a Victoria Street BS1 6DT 0117 927 6805 email@example.com Find us on Facebook “Independent People” Follow us on Twitter @1625ip www.1625ip.co.uk
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A word from the Chief... Are young people becoming ghosts in the political machine? Autumn is well and truly here, and it’s nearly Christmas already- where did the summer go?! As the temperature dropped in early November we persuaded over a hundred people to give up their comfy beds and sleep in a car park for the night. Why? To raise funds and awareness for youth homelessness of course. We made a lot of noise and raised an amazing £23,000 (and still counting). This issue is about young people having a voice, being heard and having the chance to express themselves. We take a look at voting and activismincluding how to register to vote on p.10 and whether it’s worth it on p.8. The general election isn’t until May but now’s the time to start thinking about the issues that could affect you. If you’re under 18 you can take part in the Big Bristol Youth vote in Januarysee p.9.
One such issue is the suggestion of raising the minimum wage to a ‘living wage’- and whether this would apply equally to young people. Thank you to the four local candidates- Tony Dyer for the Green Party, Thangam Debbonaire for the Labour Party, Mark Wright for the Liberal Democrats and Claire Hiscott for the Conservative Partywho took the time to give us their views (p.12-14). Having a voice doesn’t just mean having a political voice, sometimes personal expression is just as important- find out more about two of our new participation workshops Think. Make Do. on p.18 and Making Tracks on p.7. I hope you enjoy this issue, it is jam packed with info and things for you to get involved with. We want to hear what you have to say - so please contact Tia, our Comms Officer on 0117 317 7096 or Tia.Psihogios@1625ip.co.uk if you have ideas for a piece in the next issue. Dom Wood, Chief Exec 3 i-people Autumn
sides to ever y stor y... Our Mediation Coordinator Chrissy Nicholls explains a little bit about what Mediation is and how it could help you sort out arguments or disagreements where you’re living. So what is mediation? A typical mediation case involves us meeting the clients and talking about what’s going on for them, why are they at risk of losing their housing and what can be done to resolve it. We are not looking to tell people what to do, more to open the lines of communication in a safe way, where ever yone can be heard. What we find a lot is people are so caught up in the conflict that people no longer hear what the issue is making it hard to find a way for ward. The mediation sessions starts with one person giving their side of the stor y and the other person listens. We set ground rules and encourage people to be really honest. They
then swap roles and the other person gives their side of the stor y. Together with the help of mediators we look to write an action plan of ‘agreed’ things to help change the situation. Why is mediation important? The most common factor causing homelessness is relationship breakdown. People stop talking and things escalate and often they think they have no other choice but to leave where they are staying when actually there is a real possibility things can be resolved. We are an impartial ser vice, working with volunteers, some who have been homeless themselves and have lived in hostels and shared housing so really understand the issues people face. The ser vice is voluntar y, there is no pressure to do things you don’t want to. Our ser vice is confidential and offers you a chance to talk through the issues, we are not there to take sides. We have a high success rate of preventing homelessness. What are the most common causes of conflict that can put people at risk of homelessness? People ‘s behaviour, such as noise, coming in late, dog fouling, cleanliness, not paying rent, the way people speak to each other all have an impact on the people they live with. We use mediation to help look at the problem and see what needs to change. What inspires you to do the job that you do? I have met and worked with some wonderful clients and volunteers who really manage to change things around when they thought things were never going to change. It’s the people that inspire me. It’s when people say so and so will never go for it but by the end of the session they walk away talking again and for some able to remain home. Makes me smile a lot!
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In the middle Sara has volunteered as a Mediator with 1625ip since 2010. What inspired you to get involved? I was in quite a bad place at the time, I was in a hostel, not the easiest of environments for anything really. I was dealing with an alcohol addiction and was ver y stuck. I think I needed something else to focus on, rather than just stopping and getting out of my addiction. I thought ‘I need something else in my life - I’m just existing really’. How did you find the training? Intense, but it was one of the best things. It helps me now with my teenage daughter. With teenagers sometimes it can be yes or no answers, with some teenagers they’re ver y closed books, and good questioning skills has helped me so much in my personal life. So part of mediation is giving people the chance to be heard in a neutral space? Yeah, and particularly with the work we do with listened to. I think a lot of young people don’t feel younger people. I think if it’s a parent, or carer, and like they’re listened to and it’s important to show young person situation often the parent is them that ‘you’re equal in this room, you’re equal automatically in a position of power, and I think to your parents. What you’ve got to say is just as young people deser ve their own voice. They also valuable if not more.’ I think because of that have things going on and particularly in today’s obvious power imbalance it’s really important to environment with all the communication we have let young people know that they have a voice and going on now, texting and all of that, I think how to use it. somewhere it can get lost and it’s important to get someone to open up and talk and tell you how Sometimes if I’m going into a mediation that’s a bit they’re feeling. A young tricky, I will ask my person’s mediation tends to daughter ’s advice and it’s ver y hard to hear what the other be much more emotional say ‘what’s the most person is saying if you’re shouting, and there’s a lot of important thing as I emotions involved. go into this’? and she’s bawling, screaming frequently said, ‘just Do you think mediation listen mum. Listen and is a safe place to be honest and don’t butter things up’. And I think express those emotions? that’s what young people want, someone who’ll be Yes I do, because in any kind of conflict it’s ver y straight with them and listen. If you’re straight with hard to hear what the other person is saying if them they’re going to be straight with you. They’re you’re shouting, bawling, screaming- you can’t see more likely to open up. It’s a difficult time for the wood from the trees can you? You get stuck. anybody, those transitional years, and it’s getting Bringing people together in a controlled more and more difficult for that age group. environment, it’s all about listening and about being
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Beau’s been Making Tracks...
Beau is a regular at the new 1625ip music group Making Tracks.
How long have you been going for? A few weeks I’ve been doing it. It’s good. It’s a laugh.
So what do you get up to? Is it just making music?
Making music and testing new pieces of musical equipment so we play like piano, using the software on the computer.
So like a synthesizer?
Yep. So we can choose the tune that goes on it.
Have you always been into music or is this something new for you?
I’ve always been into music but never really thought about doing it that much, like with a music teacher.
You’ve been looking at different styles of music?
Yeah I was looking at r ‘n’ b, hiphop, drum ‘n’ bass, making beats for them. Just messing about with stuff on the computer.
Do you feel more comfortable doing that now that you’ve been a few times? I was comfortable doing it the first time, just chilling, messing about with the stuff, seeing what it does.
What sort of things have you learnt so far? How to make music on the computer ...
Do you need any previous experience to get involved?
Just turn up and go. It keeps me busy. It’s good fun. I can learn about the beats dropping and stuff like that.
Would you recommend it to others?
I would recommend it. It’s good, Duane’s a good music teacher. Good fun.
Is it easier to make a track about how you’re feeling or what you want to say rather than having to say it or write it down?
Me personally, no. My music, I just test the beats and see what you can actually do. Just playing about with the music stuff and seeing what you can make. It’s not about making tunes that are all depressed, to show that I’m depressed because I personally don’t do depression. I don’t have time for it.
Do you think music’s something you’d ever get into as a career? I would get into it but it wouldn’t be my first choice of career.
is a place to learn about music production, industry, trends and culture. It takes place at the Foyer on Tuesday afternoons from 2-5 and is open to all young people who are supported by 1625. Drop in or ask your support worker or Duane MacDonald.
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According to Homeless Link at the
So is voting wor th it?
last general election:
We asked some young people what they thoughtand the jur y’s still out...
74% of home owners turned out to vote
compared to just 55% in social housing.
75% of over 65s turned out compared to 52% of 18-25s.
lisha - 21
VOTING? Yes IS IT WORTH IT? Yes WHY? Because it’s wor th putting over your point of view
Those who did not vote may have missed the oppor tunity to influence impor tant decisions that were likely to have an impact on their lives.’
VOTING? Maybe IS IT WORTH IT? Don’t really know... WHY? The government don’t class young people as impor tant people. We are the future!
NIKITA - 21
VOTING? No IS IT WORTH IT? No WHY? Your vote never gets counted. The whole voting scheme is a scam so voting is a WASTE OF TIME!
VOTING? Yes IS IT WORTH IT? Yes WHY? Don’t agree with some of the current policies and to have my own decision instead of going on the majority
Lisa - 24
VOTING? Maybe IS IT WORTH IT? Wouldn’t know WHY? Interest
If we don’t vote, do we still have a right to complain when the Laura - 25 government doesn’t do VOTING? Yes what we want? iS IT WORTH IT? I feel your vote, your Is it OK to vote for someone you only half opinion really matters agree with - just to make sure someone you WHY? I worr y our votes are not actotally disagree with knowledged, howevdoesn’t get in? er I will always vote I Or is voting legitimising for what believe in a system that doesn’t work for you? Is it just encouraging them?
james - 21
VOTING? Yes IS IT WORTH IT? Depends on your point of view
Stephen - 20 VOTING? Yes IS IT WORTH IT? Yes WHY? Because I have to
James - 25
VOTING? No IS IT WORTH IT? Not really. WHY? Why choose to vote for the lesser evil? Why not choose not to vote for evil at all? :)
Read more about the Homeless Link figures and repor t: www.homeless.org.uk/our-work/campaigns/policy-and-lobbying-priorities/your-vote-matters
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YOUTH BOARD UPDATE at 1625ip Na “The Giraffe” Porter (Board Member)
Modern democracy is supposed to give everyone a voice, but so often we don’t use it and then wonder why things don’t work for us. This is why 1625ip have a Youth Board- so that rather than things being done to us, the system works for us. Come along and help make a real difference to Independent People services for you and for all our young people.
Look at what we’ve done so far.... 1. Improving communication with the 1625ip Senior Management Team and main Board, so we’re all working from the same page :) 2. We successfully applied to Easton Neighbourhood Partnership for funding for a BME outreach worker. This is to make sure we’re truly representative as a Board and we now have two BME members. 3.We now have a Peer Support service! As a board we worked on this for a long time, including helping to recruit a Peer Support Co-ordinator and developing training. 4. We represented young people at the 1625ip OVO Sleep Out (see p.19) - hence the photo of me in giraffe PJs! We also have a set of goals for next year now, so why not come along and see what else we can do together? The Youth Board meets once a month and is made up of six-eight members. If you are interested in being part of it and having your say about 1625ip’s services, ask your support worker or contact Hannah Panes on Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominations are now in for the 2015 Big Bristol Youth Vote. If you’re under 18 and want to get your voice heard - you can vote to elect members for the UK Youth Parliament, local Youth Council and Young Mayors between 19 - 30 January. These all come under the umbrella of the British Youth Council. The UK Youth Parliament is run by young people for young people. It has MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament) from different parts of the country who organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting. Some of you might have voted in the Make Your Mark Ballot earlier this year- the results are now in and the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaigns for 2015 are going to be mental health education and a living wage for all. The local Youth Council and Young Mayors represent the views of young people at a local level, again run by young people for young people. They work with all levels of local government to represent the views of local young people.
For more information see goplacesdothings.org.uk/pages/get-involved and byc.org.uk 9 i-people Autumn
HOW TO REGISTER
tary n e m a i l r UK pa a n i ered to t e s t i o g v e r n e a You c f you’r i n o i t c e el general : d citizen g day n a n a i r l l o e o t n p e o z n v over o lth citi
8 or monwea m o - aged 1 C , n e ’re h citiz ause you c e b - a Britis c i g l e b ( u m voting Irish Rep o r e f h t d f e o d u If you’re not registered at least cl egally ex l t o n 12 days before the election you ) in prison will not be able to vote. Be
ing regis on the e le te if yo r can al ctoral so u’ get a re trying help cont mobile p to Register online www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and fill in a ract hone o w r h a simple form-it only takes a couple of minutes but you’ll need your ere nyt cred they run hing National Insurance number. it ch eck o a In Bristol you can also drop in to Temple Street Customer Service n you . Point.
Registering doesn’t mean you have to vote, but if you aren’t registered you can’t vote.
In South Glos you can give them a call on the number below or drop in to one of the one stop shops at Kingswood Civic Centre, Patchway Hub, Yate or Thornbury and they can call for you.
If you don’t have a permanent address
ou have Legally y if you er to regist g ter askin get a let ou could you to (y u £80 if yo d e n fi t ge refuse).
If you don’t currently have a permanent address, which most of you now will, but are based in Bristol or South Glos you can fill out a 'Declaration of Local Connection' form, giving the council an address in the local area that you can collect your ballot paper from. This does Make su re not have to be somewhere you are staying. There is a freepost your ful you use ln address at the bottom of the form for you to return it to. It can last needs t ame as it o match up to twelve months if you don’t register from a new address, after the name a ttached 12 months you will have to renew it. to your Na tional BRISTOL: Download a form from Insrance number www.bristol.gov.uk/page/council-and-democracy/special-arrangeDWP re & c ords. ments-registering-vote or call on the number below. SOUTH GLOS: Call them and give them an address they can send the form to, the form is not currently available online. If you need any help ask your support worker or contact Bristol City Council or South Glos Council: Bristol City Council Electoral Services (B Bond) c/o 9 Willway Street Bedminster Bristol BS3 4SP 0117 922 3400
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Electoral Registration Officer South Glos Council, PO Box 300, Electoral Services, Civic Centre High Street, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DS 01454 863 030
Who gives an
How to release your inner activist...
Voting is activism. Helping to run a country is a pretty big job to elect someone for and there’s lots of different issues to consider; and a lot of information and promises to wade through to find out which party would do what if they were in power.
Get all CSI about it...
Investgate. Visit the different party websites - and talk to the candidates who knock on your door! Don’t send them away - ask them questions about their policies and how they will work for you and the sort of country you want to live in. One way to sift through it all, and find out which party most closely matches your views, is to use a website called voteforpolicies.org.uk You can choose specific issues that are most important to you like education, housing or the environment, or select all issues. Once you’ve answered some questions it will tell you what per centage of your answers match the policies of which parties.
Talk to people
Find out from other people who they vote for and why, it will help you figure out what’s important to you.
Get heard even if you don’t want to vote for any of the parties
It is not compulsory to vote in this country. Some people feel it’s a bit like being asked if you’re a fan of chocolate, strawberry or vanilla ice cream when you’re lactose intolerant or all about the honeycomb. Neither of which fit into the choices on offer. You can register and then do nothing. Some people choose to take part in the electoral process but draw a picture or sign the ballot paper instead of marking with an X - this is called spoiling your vote. Or you can leave it blank - blank/spoiled votes are counted in Many voices this country but are seldom represented in the results. Or you could start your own Honeycomb Party. make a lot
I only care about these things...
If there are issues that really matter to you and you want something to be done, you can still be active. Join or start a collective/group. You can go on protest marches, or join in with protests online. There are a few sites like www.38degrees.org.uk, sumofus.org and change.org where you can sign petitions on issues that affect you and set up your own petitions. If a petition or protest has enough support, politicians are more likely to take notice and do something about it.
more noise than you muttering to yourself that someone ought to do something.
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Everyone’s banging on about
You might have heard it on the radio, on the bus, at your work or college. Everyone’s talking about the living wage. But what is it and how would it effect you? The Centre for Research in Social Studies at Loughboruough University worked out how much we need to earn to afford a “comfortable life” - enough to cover the basics like rent, food and bills. Comfortably. The living wage is voluntary, employers don’t have to pay it like they do with the minimum wage.
Living rage? As to how it could affect young people, sadly the answer is that it might not. Young people under the age of 21 have been largely left out of the conversation. The current living wage set by the Living Wage Foundation is £7.85 per hour. In the current minimum wage system a 16 year old is entitled to £3.79 (or £2.73 if they are an apprentice). SHOCKING! Some one over 21 gets £6.50. The proponents of a living wage (people who are for it) are arguing that £6.50 is not enough to provide an acceptable standard of living, so our argument is how could £2.73 possibly be enough to live off? We approached some of the people campaigning to be elected MPs for Bristol in the next general election for their thoughts...
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Conservative Candidate Bristol West Do you support the minimum wage being raised to a living wage level, or do you think employers should be able to choose? I am fully supportive of businesses who choose to pay the living wage and would like to see more companies do so. The minimum wage should only be seen as that - ‘a minimum’ not ‘a recommended’ wage. Government always has the difficult job of encouraging job creation as well as ensuring fair salaries for fair work levels. As the economy continues to recover I would expect the minimum wage to continue to be increased, but there is nothing to stop thriving businesses rewarding good workers now! Do you believe that it is right that the current minimum wage is staggered based on age and why? If you were to introduce a living wage would this be universal? In my working life I have experienced recruiting, employing and training and understand that sometimes age and experience can have a bearing on ability and contribution to a business. Where a training element is involved in a job it is understandable that the wage reflects the investment from the company to the
individual. Personally I have always awarded salaries on the basis of experience and ability. What about young people who are not able to live in or be supported within the family home? There are many reasons that mean that sometimes a young person cannot live within their family home. Family breakdown, mental health, bereavement etc are not issues that can be legislated for and that is when community groups and charities are vital for real (not just financial) support. We can always say that governments should do more, and this government has focused much attention on supporting families with multiple needs and issues. I personally value the work of
Dr. Mark Wright
Lib Dem Candidate Bristol South
Do you support the minimum wage being raised to a living wage level, or do you think employers should be able to choose? I think that if evidence can be provided that it isn’t possible to live on a wage below a certain amount, then that should be the minimum wage. I don’t think it makes sense to have different levels
local groups and charities that work in preventing family breakdown and protecting young people unfortunately the work never ends.
Do you think MPs and the government would be more likely to do something about this inequality if more young people voted? If the voting age were lowered to 16 do you think politicians would give more priority to issues affecting young people? I hope that all MPs work for their whole community! As of wage considered to be a minimum acceptable. Where the different organisations who determine these rates disagree, they should come together to work out why they have arrived at different levels, and agree what would be the best way to make their numbers agree. Do you believe that it is right that the current minimum wage is staggered based on age and why? If you were to introduce a living wage would this be universal? On one level, it feels instinctively wrong that people under 21 should be s ubject to a different rate, when they are full citizens with full voting rights and legal responsibilities. Having said that, there is an argument that if the rate was set universally, companies wouldn’t bother hiring teenagers, as they have
a prospective parliamentary candidate I can guarantee that I would be working for everyone irrespective of their age or voting intention. Governments should focus on doing the right thing, not what wins a quick vote from any sector of society. I would never make decisions on what would woo one age group rather than another. Being brave enough to do what’s right rather than what is expedient at the time gives a clear distinction between the ‘career’ or ‘conviction’ politician. Addressing the issues that face young people such as education, apprenticeships, health and housing etc are vital. If we want the next generation to contribute to a strong and successful UK any government would be unwise to ignore them. so little experience in the workplace, they are unable to compete with more experienced people on the same wage. Young people would then end up in a trap – being unable to get experience because they have no job, and unable to get a job because they have no experience. Before supporting a universal minimum wage, I would want to see evidence that this kind of trap wouldn’t occur for young people. What about young people who are not able to live in or be supported within the family home? Let me start by saying that no one should be forced out of their parental home before being 18. I think the move to make education compulsory up to 18 is a good one, and that all parents should understand that their responsibilities should go
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up to 18, not just 16. Regarding housing benefits for teenagers, I think this is a tough issue. The “contributory principle” of welfare is that people pay in via National Insurance, and then in times of need receive benefits back. I think in when money is tight, it is fair to ask how much teenagers have paid into the system, and then is it fair that teenagers are drawing on welfare without having paid in. Also that when housing is in such sort supply, isn’t it fair
Labour Candidate Bristol West
Do you support the minimum wage being raised to a living wage level, or do you think employers should be able to choose? Wages need to be sufficient to live on, and there should be real wage progression above the minimum so that as people become more productive or have new skills or responsibilities they can earn more. Living wage has been a Labour policy in recent local government elections and thanks to Labour the Mayor of Bristol has changed his position. I think all employers should pay a living wage and the Labour party has committed to this for the next election.
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that those most likely to have the ability to live with relatives for a while should do so? Do you think MPs and the government would be more likely to do something about this inequality if more young people voted? If the voting age were Do you believe that it is right that the current minimum wage is staggered based on age and why? If you were to introduce a living wage would this be universal? I believe that it is appropriate to stagger the minimum wage based on age but coupled with training and education opportunities so that young people are able to build skills ad knowledge whether they go to university or train through apprenticeships or local colleges. This way they will develop and also have more to contribute in a range of ways to the world around them. Once trained or qualified they will then be on the full minimum wage – however, when necessary, the state needs to provide extra help for some. I would then like wages to improve and increase up the scale as people develop more skills and take on more responsibilities. I’d also like all employees to have decent terms and conditions – a living minimum wage is not enough.
lowered to 16 do you think politicians would give more priority to issues affecting young people? Yes, and yes. I support votes at 16, because I think it would help young people understand politics and get involved if they were able to vote while in the 6th form at school and discussing voting in lessons. But young people really must vote. Politicians don’t listen to people who don’t vote, as they don’t affect elections. What about young people who are not able to live in or be supported within the family home? Young people who can’t be supported by family or face other disadvantage should have additional financial support to help meet this shortfall. This should include reasonable housing benefit where needed – but also Labour wants to tackle high rents to make sure that young people and others do not get trapped in high rents. Do you think MPs and the government would be more likely to do something about this inequality if more young people voted? If the voting age were lowered to 16 do you think politicians would give more priority to issues affecting young people? Labour has committed to bringing down the voting age to 16 and I hope that this will ensure politicians take more notice of the full range of problems facing young people such as access to further education, tuition fees, cuts to the education maintenance allowance, the need for apprenticeships and decent jobs. Wages are part of this but not the only factor.
Green Party Candidate Bristol South
Do you support the minimum wage being raised to a living wage level, or do you think employers should be able to choose? The Green Party proposes an increase in the statutory minimum wage to bring it up to living wage levels immediately. Beyond that we would set a new target of £10 an hour for all employers to reach by 2020. The current political approach, based on voluntary uptake by employers is not ending the injustice of poverty pay fast enough. The number of people earning below the living wage has risen, not fallen – from 3.4 million in 2011 to 5.2 million today. In London 750,000 workers still earn less than the London Living Wage. Do you believe that it is right that the current minimum wage is staggered based on age and why? If you were to introduce a living wage would this be universal? We believe in equal pay for work of equal value. Age alone should not be a factor in determining the size of your pay
packet. The current system discriminates against the young and penalises them unfairly. The Green Party would introduce a Living Wage that was universally applied, the only factors that should determine how much you are paid should be your skills and experience, and how well you perform your job. Interns should also be paid a living wage – except where they could be regarded as volunteers. In practice this means that interns in the public and private sectors should be paid the living wage in full. Those undertaking a work placement as part of an academic course or volunteering would not normally expect to be paid. The Green Party has many volunteers, including students undertaking a work placement as part of their studies. We do not pay them a salary.
What about young people who are not able to live in or be supported within the family home? Young people in such circumstances are often required to make important decisions at a young age without a familybased support network. They have to make adult choices, they should be paid an adult wage, a living wage. The Green Party would also introduce a Citizen’s Income, designed to cover the basic needs of an able-bodied person. A Citizen’s Income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable
income payable to each individual as a right of citizenship. It will not be subject to means testing and there will be no requirement to be either working or actively seeking work. Do you think MPs and the government would be more likely to do something about this inequality if more young people voted? If the voting age were lowered to 16 do you think politicians would give more priority to issues affecting young people? Young people are interested in politics because they are interested in issues and in making the world a better place. Young people have been instrumental in campaigns against dawn raids on asylum seekers, for an end to the policies that cause global poverty, and against war. It is crucial to creating a vibrant democracy that citizens can engage with the political system from a young age and reducing the voting age to 16 is a key part of this. Too often, issues that affect the young are sidelined and there is little doubt that the lack of voting power to pressure politicians plays a major role in this. In terms of engaging younger voters, for the European elections we held ground-breaking primaries for everyone aged 16 and over to select our two leading European candidates. We were also the first major political party to publish a Youth Manifesto. HUGE THANKS to all the candidates for their contributions.
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16 i-people Autumn
You know you want to.
1625ip Volunteer Connor, , a third year Fine Art student at UWE, is running arts and crafts sessions at Kingsley Hall Old Market ever y Friday. What kind of things do you get up to in the sessions? Well we do a range of activities, mainly art based but tr ying to move away from crafting stuff and just coming and making an item. More moving towards tr ying to think about what we’re going to make and putting some critical thinking into it, some self expression and self analysis. Looking at your feelings and exploring that through art. What is it that makes art such a great medium for expressing yourself, how you feel and what you want to say? It’s quite safe because it’s non verbal so people can often say something with art that they wouldn’t want to say, or wouldn’t feel comfortable saying with words. Can people just drop in for a session? You can easily drop in but we want to move towards having a final show so like getting galler y space somewhere in Bristol. so you’re welcome to come and join in for one session but there’s a benefit to coming more than once and getting involved really. Just come and have fun creating art. What’s been you’re favourite thing about the workshop so far? I’ve enjoyed interacting with people and seeing how my plans go astray, you think about something you think is gonna work in some way and it either doesn’t work or something else comes up that does work- it’s a learning process. Why should I come along in three words? It’s really fun! Connor is also the man behind the faded in/ faded out face featured on our cover and in the Think. Make. Do. poster, here’s his inspiration behind the piece: I wanted to do a piece of artwork to show what we could be aiming towards. I left it not fully worked into so you can see the different levels that go into a painting, see the process. I wanted to do a representation of what we’d be doing so people could see it and have something to aim towards.
Think. Make. Do. takes place from 2-4 on Friday afternoons at 1625ip’s head office on Old Market. Want to give it a go? Ask your support worker , text Connor on 07772022996 or just show up. 18 i-people Autumn
take youth homelessness lying down!
unless you’re ON a sleep out... 1625 Independent People Sleep Out powered by OVO energy. Remember, remember the 6th November... OK, so it’s a day off and thankfully there was no gunpowder, treason and plot, although there were a few stray fireworks in the (rather damp) sky. Over 150 people joined us in the long-stay car park by Temple Meads Station to raise awareness about youth homelessness and to raise some much needed funds for 1625 Independent People. With the help of our AMAZING partners OVO Energy we provided a bit of entertainment and a soup kitchen for all the “sponsored sleepers” who had been fundraising for weeks before the event. The biting cold, damp, noise and difficulty of carr ying on your day with little sleep all helped sleepers to experience some of the practical realities of being homeless which over 80,000 young people across the UK face ever y day. That’s enough to fill Ashton Gate Stadium four times over. This was not about pretending to be homeless, it was about raising awareness about the issues young people face and raising a load of cash to help us support young people. It definitely did that, so far the total is over £23,000 with more coming in still. It was great to see so many smiling faces despite the cold and the damp. Take a look at some pics of the night...
19 i-people Autumn
BCFM’s One Love Breakfast Show presenters slept out
BBC Points West filming live..
The cold hard floor.
Bristol’s Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and OVO Energy’s CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick
20 i-people Autumn
A few of Bristol Rugby Academy Squad showing their support
We caught up with the lovely Sian Evans of Kosheen and Ron McElroy who came down to support us on the night and played a few songs (along with some other spectacularly good artists) to get everyone warmed up as the temperatures started to drop. Here’s why they think youth homelessness is an issue everyone should be talking about.
I have a 22 yr old son and the thought of him trying to be independent and finding the money to move out into a place of his own; with the amount of rent and bond and credit checks that happen it’s so difficult for a young person to find somewhere to live without the family support that he has. It would be a very dangerous situation for him to be in. We were in a situation like that when he was very small, when he was a baby, we spent a few months homeless, we went from emergency housing to caravan to tipi. There’s not as much support as there should be for vulnerable young people, maybe if they’ve been kicked out of their home or estranged from their families, to put them into a more vulnerable situation on the streets- you know, it’s terrifying for a mother to think that there’s nothing there to support them. So to see this tonight it’s great, it’s fabulous, to see that that there’s a lot of people do care and want to bring awareness about the situation and want to wrap these young people up and support them. I’m comforted by that.
I’ve been doing a lot of songwriting and performance workshops in Wales with young people who have slipped the net, in exclusion situations. And that really works, even if it’s just to give them a little confidence, give them the opportunity to straighten their back a little bit and make them feel listened to, it really helps, music’s such a great medium to reach out to young people ‘cause it’s their language. So they don’t feel so gagged and dumbfounded by their situation. Sometimes when you feel so low, you don’t feel like you have a voice anymore. (Check out Making Tracks on p.7)
Ron: Also it’s a huge part of people’s lives
that’s neglected for people with homes as well. But if you’re homeless and your whole life is surviving. We were talking about this a while ago, and when you spend your whole time surviving you don’t have time to develop any other facet of your character, you don’t know what to build on, you’ve got to realize everyone has something amazing inside them and if you weren’t having to spend the whole of your time trying to stay warm, you might be able to figure out what that was.
Sian: I don’t want to say I’m living proof
that you can get out of that situation but I am in a way. We were in that situation, we persevered and I did get support, we were supported and it’s a good thing to be able to preach that your life can change. Listen, it can change and it will change, you don’t just sit down and go ‘ah that’s it I’m defeated’ your life can change and you’d be amazed at how quickly once you get onto the right path, how quickly it goes, madness, crazy, fabulous, amazing, magic.
21 i-people Autumn
hitch or ditch
Straight talking, no b*llshit advice from the Youth Board @1625ip
I’ve been seeing this guy for a few months and I stay over at his place a couple of times a week but I’m not sure if he likes me or wants me around anymore. To begin with he was really affectionate and he seemed really outgoing and fun to be around, but lately he’s seemed really down and quiet a lot of the time and keeps saying he’s not in the mood for company. He says it isn’t anything to do with me but I’m starting to think it must be. Sometimes he just won’t get out of bed until late afternoon and then he’s miserable about having missed college and not getting anything done. He’s mega grumpy if I try to wake him up in the mornings and complains if I don’t. Also lately his room has been a complete mess with old plates and cups lying around. It makes me not want to stay over as it’s kind of gross. I really like him and want to help but don’t know how to talk to him about it. What do you reckon? Cheers, Abi
A sudden change in his personality could be triggered by so many different things, it may be a personal issue, a situation, depression or possibly drug-taking. You can try to talk to him about it, ask if something has changed, try to help him open up. But you MUST remember you can’t fix him and you have to keep well yourself. Give him advice but don’t become his crutch. Maybe suggest he see a GP counselling might help? You deserve respect and to be loved, and if he wants to be with you it’s clear he’ll need to clean up his act and will have to put in some effort. It might not be easy for him. Also check out relate.org.uk they offer complete relationship advice. 0300 100 1234 22 i-people Autumn
Useful Numbers In an emergency for Fire, Police and Ambulance services dial 999 SHELTER 24 hour freephone number: SMELL GAS OR SUSPECT A LEAK? Call National Grid using a phone outside your home and then call your landlord’s repair line POWER FAILURE- ELECTRICITY 24 hours
0808 800 444
0800 111 999 0800 365 900
South Glos Council (Switchboard and out of hours) 01454 868 686 (main switchboard) Emergency Hospitals and Health Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) Southmead Hospital Frenchay Hospital NHS Direct (24Hrs) GP / Health Centres
0845 4567 000 999
0300 1234 999
If you’re a Service User use the
Councils Bristol City Council (8.30am- 8pm) 0117 922 2200 Emergency Control Centre (24 hrs) 0117 922 2050
0117 923 0000 0117 950 5050 0117 970 1212 0845 4647 0845 4647
Useful Mental Health contacts: www.mind.org.uk tel: 0117 980 0370 www.rethink.org tel: 0300 5000 927 www.awp.nhs.uk tel: 01249 468 000 Avon and Wiltshire NHS: www.bristol.gov.uk/balp Bristol active life project
0800 731 7213 fROM LANDLINES
to contact your support worker
If you need help, advice or want to talk about something that’s worrying you - your support worker will try to help you or will put you in touch with the right people. There’s always someone to talk to. Check the back of your Service User Handbook for other useful organisations and freephone numbers.
23 i-people Autumn
24 i-people Autumn
The quarterly magazine for service users and supporters of 1625 Independent People.