National Youth Agency takes over key function of defunct British Youth Council

The National Youth Agency (NYA) is taking over the running of the UK Youth Parliament, which had been run by the British Youth Council (BYC), the 75 year old charity that was forced to close in March due to financial challenges.

The initiative, which sees young people lobby MPs and Lords and sit annually in the House of Commons, launched in 1999 and had been run by the BYC with government funding since 2011.

Youth charity NYA has said the government has “worked rapidly to secure the future” of the UK Youth Parliament and is funding NYA to carry on its work for 2024/25.

The NYA will work with the parliament’s existing partners, including Regional Youth Work Units in England, the Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Wales, and consultants in Northern Ireland.

“Ensuring that young people have a voice on the issues that matter to them and being able to influence decision makers is a fundamental principle of youth work,” said NYA chief executive Leigh Middleton.

“We have moved swiftly to ensure that the necessary platforms are in place so that the Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPS) can meet throughout the year, alongside the support provided by the devolved country partners, local authorities and regional youth work units.”

UK Youth Parliament member Haydn Cutler said: “It is great to hear that the important work of UKYP will continue, with our organisation essential in the continuance of youth voice within UK politics, and I know the NYA will continue to enable this.

“From the discussions I’ve had, it is clear today’s announcement will bring relief to many fellow MYPs, and I would like to give my thanks to all who worked tirelessly for this outcome.”

Civil Society and youth minister Stuart Andrew added: “The Youth Parliament is a vitally important way for young people to become politically engaged and have their say on the issues that matter to them. It has also proven to have a positive impact in developing their confidence and leadership skills.

“By securing the future of the Youth Parliament for the coming year, we are underlining how the Government is absolutely committed to creating opportunities for young people’s voices to be heard as voters and politicians of the future.”

In announcing its closure in March BYC cited problems including financial challenges facing its partner The Body Shop.

“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to provide a sustainable future for the charity,” it said.

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