As a leading UK youth charity, we work to influence debates and decisions that affect young people’s life chances and wellbeing – and to connect them with opportunities to make a positive impact on the issues they care about.

We do this by collaborating with other youth charities, building strong relationships with government departments and parliamentarians from all major parties – and, most importantly, listening to the views of the young people we support and making sure they’re heard by the people whose decisions affect their futures.

We know from our Youth Manifesto research that young people don’t feel heard and valued by political leaders. We’re working with the young people we support, including our Youth Ambassadors, to change this – helping them have their views heard at roundtables and party conferences and enabling them to speak directly with ministers and parliamentarians.

In early 2023, our Youth Ambassadors wrote to party leaders calling on them to make sure young people have a voice at the next election – delivering their letter to Labour Party Chair Anneliese Dodds, and directly to the door of No 10. Read the letter here.


What we’re calling for: an Enrichment Guarantee

Today’s young people are amazing. They care deeply about making a positive difference to their communities and the wider world.

But they’re also facing unprecedented challenges and insecurity. Already hard hit by the pandemic and its aftermath, they’re also navigating a cost-of-living crisis, uncertain transitions from education to employment, continuing inequality, heightened feelings of loneliness, and a worsening mental health emergency.

Now more than ever, it’s vital every young person has the opportunities, tools and support they need to fulfil their potential.

But the schools young people go to, the areas they grow up in and their socio-economic background still limit their access to enrichment activities outside the classroom. Too many are missing out on potentially life-changing experiences – with knock-on effects for the UK’s economy, productivity and social mobility.

That’s why, together with our Back Youth Alliance partners, we’re calling on political parties to commit to an Enrichment Guarantee: a pledge that all young people will be given regular access to non-formal learning activities, with targeted support for those from low-income households and who have additional needs.

We need universal access to activities outside the classroom that can help young people develop vital skills, grow in self-belief and connect with their communities – something they can’t always get from school. These include non-formal learning activities, programmes and clubs, outdoor learning, trips away from home, and volunteering and social action opportunities,

At the DofE, we see every day the difference these opportunities can make to young people. They’re linked to better physical and mental health, essential skills development, social mobility and improved educational outcomes.

They give young people a safe space to have fun, meet new people, discover passions and talents and gain practical, work-ready skills – so they can thrive in future and fulfil their potential, whatever challenges they’ve faced.

How we work with others

The Back Youth Alliance

We’re part of the Back Youth Alliance – a strategic coalition of 12 youth sector organisations, including The Prince’s Trust, Girlguiding, Scouts and the National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust.

Our shared vision is a UK where all young people are:

  • listened to, heard and respected
  • connected to their communities
  • experiencing positive health and wellbeing
  • safe and equitably treated
  • world ready, work ready and confident about their futures.

Together, we use our combined influence to present a coherent voice and vision to decision makers – with and for young people.

Our Agenda for Action builds on our shared calls for an Enrichment Guarantee. We’re calling for a National Youth Offer – including a targeted youth development offer for the most marginalised and at-risk young people, a universal youth work and enrichment guarantee, and youth voice and representation at all levels of policy and decision-making.

Reflecting on a year with the Back Youth Alliance READ MORE
DofE UK Youth Ambassadors

From political party conferences to DofE fundraising events, Youth Ambassadors represent DofE at a number of events throughout the year. These can be online, in their region, UK-wide or even internationally.

Read more about our DofE UK Youth Ambassadors.

DofE Youth Ambassadors gear up to share their views at political party conferences READ MORE
Youth Ambassadors from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) call on our political leaders to listen to young people ahead of the next general election READ MORE
Engaging with decision makers

We work with young people and key stakeholders to ensure DofE remains an institutional point of pride that decision makers should always support by:

  • Attending Parliamentary drop-in sessions, group workshops and receptions
  • Contributing to panel discussions
  • Joining roundtable discussions
  • Meetings with MPs, Shadow Ministers, Lords, Speakers and Peers
To get in touch with our External Affairs team, please email [email protected]

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