Know your Rights!

Chloe took part in a NCS Social Action project run by MAP, supporting young people to have a voice in society

A Blog by MAP Youth Worker Danny Whitehouse

“You have the right to free speech”, according to punk band, The Clash. Here at MAP, we are passionate advocates of social justice, young people’s rights, and young people’s voice, to influence and improve the society around them. We’re putting these beliefs into practice by delivering an exciting programme designed to build a ‘youth rights movement’[1]. The programme is called Make Our Rights Reality (MORR). Would you like to know more?

When our CEO, Dan Mobbs, expressed interest in delivering the MORR programme, he wrote to Youth Access, saying: “we see that many young people who have access to public legal education are those with an interest in a career in law rather than those who may actually need to use the law for their own welfare”. MAP was chosen to be one of three delivery partners from across the county, via a ‘rigorous selection process to find the most experienced and competent organisations for this work’. MAP will keep true to its word, and work primarily with young people who experience barriers to societal inclusion, compounded by legal obscurities.

“The more you refuse to hear my voice, the louder I will sing.” Labi Siffre’s song has been a source of strength and solidarity for many listeners and campaigners, drawing courage from the idea that: “the higher [society builds its] barriers, the taller I become”.

MAP youth workers are bringing this philosophy into colleges, training centres, and informal settings across Norfolk, through a Rights Training course, available to all young people aged 16 – 25. The curriculum is impressively comprehensive, underpinned by an intention to develop young people’s confidence and assertiveness skills in relation to their legal rights. The content covers issues as diverse as negotiating contracts and housing rights with difficult landlords to reflecting on the legality of picking up a £20 note you found in the street. MAP youth workers start by getting alongside young people, to understand what their needs are, what they may find challenging. By the end of the course, we ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate their way in the world.

If you work with young people aged 15 – 25, who you think would benefit from some of the core life skills and citizenship knowledge contained in the MORR course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Gill (details at the bottom of this article).

If you are a young person, yourself, reading this, then please also get in touch! Another aspect of this programme is about social action. You are supported to campaign about issues that have directly affected you, and then to speak truth to power by presenting your proposals for changing local services to a panel of policy-makers. Our youth workers will be with you every step of the way, right up until your rights are truly acknowledged, listened to and implemented.

This project is highlighting how important it is for young people to ‘know their rights’ (both legal rights and human rights) in order to affect successful transitions into adulthood.

For more information, or to book MAP Youth Workers to deliver the training, please contact:

gillianrockey@map.uk.net, 07703 317188.

[1] http://www.youthaccess.org.uk/news-and-events/latest-news/post/11-the-youth-rights-movement-starts-herea