Dismay at closure of British Youth Council which has supported young people in Blackpool

The British Youth Council has been in place for 75 years
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Young voices in Blackpool are at risk of going unheard following the closure of the British Youth Council, the town's Member of the Youth Parliament has warned.

Luke Marwood, 17, who was elected to his role on March 20, says the demise of the charity last month has "significant implications" particularly for deprived areas such as Blackpool.

Member of the Youth Parliament Luke MarwoodMember of the Youth Parliament Luke Marwood
Member of the Youth Parliament Luke Marwood
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The Youth Council announced its closure in March following 75 years of championing young people, blaming the decision on ongoing financial difficulties which had resulted in insolvency. One of its main partners had been the Body Shop which has gone into administration.

Zara Khan, chair of the British Youth Council, said: "We know this news will come as a shock to young people across the country, generations of people who have been part of the youth voice movement, our supporters and many of our partners. Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to provide a sustainable future for the charity. The economic environment has significantly impacted our ability to generate income."

Luke, who is a student at Blackpool Sixth Form College, said: "The British Youth Council has been instrumental in providing a platform for young people to engage in democratic processes, advocate for their rights, and contribute to decision-making at all levels.

"With its closure, there is a lack of representation for youth voices, jeopardising initiatives like the Youth Parliament that empower young individuals to actively participate in shaping their futures. In Blackpool, the Youth Parliament has been a cornerstone of youth engagement. It enabled young representatives to address local issues, voice concerns, and advocate for positive change."

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Luke says he remains hopeful the Youth Council can be taken over and continue in another form.

He added:  "As a Member of the Youth Parliament, I have l witnessed first-hand the impact that youth participation can have on our community. It is essential that we uphold the principles of democracy and inclusivity, ensuring that no voices, especially those of our youth, are marginalised or silenced. "

The British Youth Council was initially set up by the Foreign Office in 1948, however, in 1963 the organisation became independent of the government as a charity.

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