Connect with us:

Democracy Matters Update July 2017: Vol. 8.5

DM newsletter heading2


  1. That is the way ahead for communities in London?
  2. London Voluntary Sector Forum (LVSF)
  3. Learning & teaching about the politics of Brexit
  4. Millennial’s Brexit Watch
  5. What are your ideas for the Party Conferences?
  6. Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change
  7. TalkPolitics campaign for an Automatic Registration Bill
  8. Votes at 16
  9. Apprenticeships for social change
  10. Opportunities for campaign training
  11. Help Phoenix Education democratise education
  12. Discount on Practical Politics Book
  13. European Democratic Education Community Conference
  14. Festival of Politics 2017
  15. Learning for Democracy Consultation
  16. World Forum for Democracy 2017
  17. Sign up for Parliament Week, 13 – 19 November
  18. The Right Ethos for jobs in advocacy and campaigning
  19. Running Democracy Matters

Please share relevant items with your colleagues and networks.

1. What is the way ahead for communities in London?

Time to reflect and plan action with storytelling, open space and presentations from community organisations at an OPEN event to build voice, agency and grassroots infrastructure at a time of crisis and division.  Book a place here.

For more information please email or call 07827 258411 Twitter: @Matt_LVSC #OURWAYAHEAD

Wednesday 12 July 2017, 13.00 p.m. – 20.30 p.m at The Great Hall, TR1-04 Holloway Campus, London Metropolitan University, 166-220 Holloway Road, London N7 8DP (see map)

2.  London Voluntary Sector Forum (LVSF)

Focus on the Greater London Authority (GLA) civil society consultation on how the GLA interacts with, relates to and supports Civil Society in London.

Friday 21st July, 9.30 a.m. to 1200 @ City Hall, Committee Room 5 (with refreshments and networking from 9 a.m.)

To book, please email to give the GLA a list of attendees for security reasons.

3.  Learning & teaching the politics of Brexit

Every upheaval creates opportunities to reshape the future. Brexit is moving fast and everyone needs help to understand and influence what’s happening.  The best organised and most skilful groups are likely to have most influence on what happens. How will your communities influence it?

Education providers and civil society associations need to make Brexit a priority, because the issues are complicated and could affect every area of our lives.

I have compiled a list of resources on learning about Brexit. Please let me know about any other learning materials and I will update it.

How to get what you want from Brexit’ is a useful piece of practical advice on by Simon Usherwood of Surrey University for anyone who wants to ensure their area of interest is protected in the Brexit process.

4.  Millennial’s Brexit Watch

Brexit Watch aims to connect policy makers and young people over the politics and process of leaving the EU. The project scrutinises public debate and policy and identify opportunities for young people to influence the decision making process on Brexit. See more at

Covi’s Caroline Macfarland’s article for Prospect Magazine, argues for an open consultation process, which encourages deliberation and political education about Brexit issues for all ages.

5  What are your ideas for the Party Conferences?

Covi invites suggestions for topics and speakers at the party conferences to find new policy talent. Join the discussion online @covithinktank #POLICYFACTOR Email CoVi your idea for a topic or speaker suggestion.

6.  Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change

Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are invited to share stories on film about action they are taking to make the world more sustainable and climate friendly. Send in an engaging, maximum three minute video to the tvebiomovies online platform: by  18 August.

Two winners will get a round trip to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany in November (including flight, accommodation and expenses). They will join the UNFCCC Newsroom team as youth reporters, compiling and producing videos, articles and social media posts.

The themes of this year’s competition are: 1) Climate friendly and resilient cities; and 2) Oceans and climate change. More information can be found here:

The competition is co-organized by the UNFCCC and UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme, and implemented by Television for the Environment-tve.

Get the social media package in English, French and Spanish in the drop-box here:  The hashtag for the competition is #Video4COP23.

7.  Campaign for an Automatic Registration Bill

TalkPolitics is campaigning for automatic voter registration, or Opt-Out Electoral Register #OptInToOptOut.

TalkPolitics is an independent think-tank run by young people, to make democracy more accessible. For more information please see

Matt Gillow, Founder, TalkPolitics Twitter: @UKtalkpolitics

8.  Votes at 16

Scotland lowered the voting age to 16 and the campaign is growing for votes at 16 in the UK. Andrew Adonis has tabled a private members bill in the House of Lords on Voting Age (Reduction) to extend the franchise for parliamentary and other elections to all citizens over the age of 16 years.

The campaign to lower the voting age is coordinated by Votes at 16 and supported by the UK Youth Parliament, the National Union of Students, the British Youth Council and Electoral Reform Society. Votes at 16 are also supported by Labour, Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Greens, as well as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, who is a “fully paid-up member of the ‘votes at 16’ club”.

YouGov has compiled arguments for and against votes at 16.

9.  Apprenticeships for social change

I am creating an 18 to 24-month programme in advocacy and campaigning for charities, voluntary organisations, local authorities, trades unions, think tanks and public service staff. Organisations with a payroll above £3 million (more than 100 staff) and can use the Apprenticeship Levy to fund existing or new staff. Organisations whose payroll is less than £3 million are likely to get a 90% subsidy from the Skills Funding Agency.

What do you think would make a great programme? Please click here to do the survey to let us know: it takes five minutes.

10.  Campaign training

SMK’s People Powered Change one-day workshop helps beginner campaigners develop strategy, tactics and skills, meet other campaigners and develop their network:  BRISTOL: 13 July 2017 | 10.00-17.00 |  YHA Bristol, 14 Narrow Quay, Avon, Bristol, BS1 4QA BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE or  contact Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK)

The Influencing Change five-day programme give more depth: for notifications, please sign up to SMK’s e-bulletin

The Advocacy Academy for young people in South London in Year 12 or 13 is now open for applications for eight months of residential weekends, placements, coaching and support about how to make a difference, starting in August 2017.

Campaign Bootcamp offers skills, community and confidence to run the campaigns you want. It starts with a week-long residential, followed by a year of mentoring, training and support. Applications for the next Bootcamp are now open: apply here by 9am on Tuesday 22nd August. It will take place from Monday 16th October to Saturday 21st October 2017 at Bore Place in Kent.

Bootcamp’s Everyday Activism programme in Yorkshire will train 400-600 people who can’t access existing campaign training, such as refugees and migrants, mental health service users and people with working class parents.

Reclaim is a grassroots leadership programme for working class young people based in Greater Manchester, for teenagers age 12-15 to develop the skills, experience and networks enjoyed by their richer peers.

Citizens UK’s six-day training is for civic institutions who want to make change at a local and national level. It combines theory, practical tools, stories and action in eight modules: Power, Self-Interest, Negotiation, Building Relationships, Leadership, Developing Institutions, Culture, and The Case for Broad-Based Organising.  If you are not from a member institution, and are interested in attending this training, please contact Citizens UK .

Next training: September 17 –  22, 2017 in Newcastle TBC

UpRising Leadership Programme is a FREE nine month programme for 19 – 25 year olds who want to transform their communities in seven UK cities:   London;  Bedford & Luton; BirminghamManchester (all starting Oct 2017); Liverpool; Stoke-on-Trent and Cardiff (tbc).

Participants work together to design and deliver a social action campaign on a local issue they are passionate about.  They learn from senior figures how political, business, public sector and community organisations work, and build strong networks with their peers. Each participant is matched with a coach and a mentor to support them.

Applications open now: Click here to apply now!

Bond, the international development network, is running two courses: Developing an advocacy strategy (3 Oct) on robust advocacy campaigns; How change happens (4-5 October) helps experienced campaigners increase clarity, effectiveness and impact. View all BOND courses

The Politics Project runs workshops in schools for young people to understand power, use their voice and make a difference. They also offer free resources for teachers to download, including many about the general election and parliament.


11. Help Phoenix Trust democratise education

Phoenix Education Trust are reviewing their strategy and invite anyone interested in democratising education to do a short survey.

People are also invited to share and celebrate good practice to accelerate the movement on Saturday 15th July, at Hackney Community College, London. To contribute, get more information or book, please email

12  Discount on Practical Politics book

My book Practical Politics: lessons in power and democracy aims to show why and how every education institution can teach political skills. Students and teachers should find it particularly useful, but it is also relevant for civil society, the media and local government. To read more, download free extracts.

20% online discount from the publisher’s page.  Code: Democracy17 is valid until 30 Nov 2017. Do spread the word.


13  European Democratic Education Community Conference

The European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) conference is on ‘Diversity in Democratic Education’ in Paris from 19th – 27th August, with participants from around the world in a caring and cooperative space.

Phoenix Education Trust have two free tickets, including travel: see here. The conference costs €290 (EUDEC members) or €330 (non members). Membership is €60. Details on the EUDEC website:

14.  Rebellion & revolution at the Festival of Politics

Festival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament and across Edinburgh Thurs 19 – Sat 21 October @FoP2017

See the full programme and book here

15.  Learning for Democracy Consultation

We are working with St George’s House, Windsor Castle, on a residential consultation on Learning for Democracy in October, aimed at building momentum for political literacy. If you can help gather evidence and spread the word, please email me.

15.  World Forum for Democracy 8 – 10 Nov 2017

I will facilitate a whole day on promoting practical political education at the World Forum for Democracy 2017 in Strasbourg, to create more opportunities for learning how to make a difference. It is free to take part, but you need to cover your own travel and accommodation costs.  See videos for highlights of last year’s event.

The Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture is a valuable analysis of curriculum frameworks for education in citizenship and political literacy. Worth reading – and using!

17.  Sign up for Parliament Week

Parliament Week (13 – 17 November) enables people to learn how to use the political system for causes they care about. To host an event sign up to the Partners’ newsletter.
The Parliamentary Education and Outreach services provide and wide range of resources and support for people doing democracy across the UK, as does the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly.
Download our free guide on How to make the most of your Parliament, with five ‘top tips’ and 29 ways you can use Parliament for your cause.

Looking for a job in advocacy, campaigning, communications and public affairs?
Then check out The Right Ethos, specialist external affairs recruitment for the not-for-profit sector

Running Democracy Matters

Democracy Matters is run on a voluntary basis. Help with the newsletter, website and events would be welcome. We aim to make learning for democracy and practical politics accessible to all by

  • connecting projects for political education, participation and democracy;
  • encouraging education providers and civil society to create opportunities
  • getting political and public support for it.

Please get in touch if you can help.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar