YOUTH CHARTER – Written Evidence (LBC0251)




































The Youth Charter submission to the House of Lords Covid-19 Committee has been prepared to share the work of the Youth Charter over the past 27 years and its relevance to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Specifically, The Youth Charter Tackles educational non-attainment, health inequality, anti-social behaviour and the negative effects of crime, drugs, gang related activity and racism by applying the ethics of sporting and artistic excellence. These can then be translated to provide social and economic benefits of citizenship, rights responsibilities, with improved education, health, social order, environment and vocation training, employment and enterprise. This is all relevant within the Covid-19 issues that have heightened awareness of the needs of our intergenerational society that have resulted in the disproportionate over representation and mortality rates of BAME communities and the Black Lives Matter issues face young people from communities of disadvantage and disaffection nationally.


The Youth Charter is making this submission as part of its ‘Call2Action’, campaigning, advocacy and lobbying to see a more holistic and integrated policy approach in the educational mental, physical and emotional health well-being and safeguarding for young people and communities that in turn produces a healthy environment and society for all.




The Youth Charter is a UK registered charity and UN accredited non-governmental organisation. Launched in 1993 as part of the Manchester 2000 Olympic Bid and the 2002 Commonwealth Games, The Youth Charter has Campaigned and Promoted the role and value of sport, art, culture and digital technology in the lives of disaffected young people from disadvantaged communities nationally and internationally. The Youth Charter has a proven track record in the creation and delivery of social and human development programmes with the overall aim of providing young people with an opportunity to develop in life.


The Youth Charter acts as a social broker and cultural interface between public/private sector and donor organisations. The key to the Youth Charter approach is to provide capacity, leadership and self-reliance to hard to reach young people and their communities. This is delivered through our Social Coach training and development workshops, programmes and projects. Further assistance, campaigning, advocacy, support and advice is delivered through our ‘on-line’ distance learning and evaluation tools, which provide a unique impact and assessment of each individual’s and community’s ongoing development and progress.








The Youth Charter’s Life Beyond Covid submission reflects the agency’s ongoing campaign and ‘Call 2 Action’, with the additional consideration of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement to re-engage, re-equip and re-empower 1 million young people in the UK, recruit, select and deploy 10,000 Social Coaches in each of the 10 major cities of the UK impacting on the lives of 1 million young people in the UK. Our new digital platform provides a model and framework to map, track and measure the social, cultural and economic outputs and outcomes that are aligned to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.


Our international ‘Call 2 Action’ is to select, recruit and deploy 50,000 Social Coaches, 50 community campuses and impact on the lives of 5 million young people.


The Youth Charter was launched on 23rd March 1993, at Wembley Stadium, in response to the tragic murder of 14-year-old schoolboy Benji Stanley, who was shot dead in Moss Side on 2nd January 1993.


The Youth Charter is a 27 Year Games Legacy of Manchester’s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games and the hosting of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games that has inspired a global Sport for Development and Peace movement/sector.


The Youth Charter has campaigned and promoted the role and value of sport, arts, culture and digital technology in the lives of disaffected young people from disadvantaged communities nationally and internationally.


The Youth Charter has a proven track record in the creation and delivery of social and human development legacy projects and programmes with the overall aim of providing young people with an opportunity through sport, art, culture and digital technology to develop in life.


Through our work with youth and communities the Youth Charter has pioneered three core youth and community development programmes:



These programmes aim to:


  1. ENGAGE young people through sport, art, cultural and digital activity
  2. EQUIP them with mental, physical and emotional life-skills and resilience
  3. EMPOWER them with aspiration of further and higher education, employment and entrepreneurship




The Youth Charter 2019 Youth Manifesto Call 2 Action is now a Black Lives Matter and Covid-19 Call 2 Action and provides the following 10-Point Plan for Youth Provision in the UK:


  1. Royal Commission on Youth
  2. Minister for Youth and Ministry for Youth
  3. National Youth Commission consisting of a consortium of Youth Agencies, with Regional & Local Youth Commissions
  4. Children and Young People’s Commissioners given increase powers
  5. Youth Parliaments providing the formal arena for youth engagement and participation
  6. National Youth Development Plan
  7. National Youth Fund fixed at 1% to 2% of GDP
  8. Community Campuses providing Somewhere to Go
  9. Curriculum for Life delivered through Sport, Art, Cultures and Digital Technology providing Something to Do
  10. Social Coaches/Youth Workers to provide Someone to Show Them


With an UK Call 2 Action for:



And a Global Call 2 Action for:





The Youth Charter has previously produced the following Youth Manifesto’s and Government Submissions[1]:






The Covid-19 Pandemic has exposed historical social, cultural and economic inequalities that impact the health and well-being of our communities. Low income and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities have been hit hardest, both in terms of high death rates from the disease[2] and economically following lockdown[3].


The Black Lives Matter movement that was reignited following the murder of George Floyd by police in the USA has inspired retrospection and action in the UK by young people who are black, Asian and white. With Lockdown fines targeted disproportionately at people from BAME backgrounds[4], and the aforementioned health and economic impacts, further motivating young people - from all social and cultural backgrounds - to take to the streets to call for fairer society for all in the UK and around the world.


Poverty breeds crime, therefore, whilst the economy may not bounce back as quickly as was predicted, crime and violence will return with vengeance[5]. The millions of young people furloughed by the pandemic lockdown are now facing unemployment as the furlough scheme is scaled down. Criminal gangs will be the first to exploit unemployed young people and introduce them the university of crime, which will further increase violence.


The pandemic of youth violence that was claiming scores of young lives in the UK prior to the Covid-19 lockdown has returned. In London, three teenagers were murdered in 7 days of violence in July, which also claimed for other lives[6]. Donnell Rhule, 18, Muhammed Samir Uddin, 19, and Ahmed Yasin-Ali, 18, were all Young Lives that should have mattered, but their murders went largely missed by a national media focused on other priorities. In August, 17-year-old Jeremy Menesses, was stabbed to death with a Machete after being chased along Oxford Street, Central London, in front of horrified shoppers[7], he was the second teenager to be murdered in the City of London and Westminster in three weeks, following killing of Ahmed Yasin-Ali, 18, in July[8].


In Greater Manchester, two young lives were lost as violence returned to the streets of Moss Side. Cheriff Tall, 21, was shot dead alongside his co-youth and community worker Abayomi Ajose, 36, during a street party in June[9]. Whilst, Mohamoud Mohamed, 17, was stabbed during a fight between two large groups in Moss Side in July[10]. In August, a young boxer, Cole Kershaw, 18, was shot dead in a suspected case of mistaken identity during a targeted attack in Bury[11].


In Blackburn, Aya Hachem, 19, a law student at the University of Salford, was killed in a drive-by shooting in May. She was out shopping for her family and was killed by ricochet bullet aimed at others.[12]


Prior to the Lockdown, Coventry, saw three teenagers murdered, with a fourth teenager murdered in nearby Leamington Spa, their names were: Babacar Diagne, 15; Nasir Patrice, 17; Ramani Morgan, 16; and Abdul Wahid Xasan, 19.[13]


Each of the aforementioned young lives lost to violence on our streets were from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. However, whilst BAME communities are disproportionately affected by violence on our streets, young people from “White British” backgrounds are also affected, as witnessed in murders of Michael Rainsford, 20, and Kyle Whitley, 18, who were murdered in unrelated attacks just days, and streets, apart from each other in Sefton, Merseyside during the full Lockdown in April.[14]


The Black Lives Matter movement provides the opportunity for the UK to implement the recommendations of numerous reports on Institutional Racism, Racial Disparities and Racial Equality, including:



With specific reference to Youth Justice, it is worth noting that whilst the number of young people, age 10 to 17, receiving custodial sentences has fallen significantly over the last 10 to 15 years, the proportion of young people from BAME backgrounds in Youth Detention Centre’s and secure units has increased from 27% in 2007/08 to 41% in 2015/16, which is nearly three times 14.5% UK BAME Population.[21] 


As we move forward into Life Beyond Covid we must consider how we can reduce the endemic Racial and Social Inequalities which have been exposed by the Covid pandemic leading to the disproportionate infection and mortality levels that then affects the mental, physical and emotional health wellbeing and safeguarding. The resulting social and economic impact leads to the pandemic violence on our streets, which disproportionately affects low income communities and those from BAME backgrounds.




The risk of a new [wildlife-to-human] disease emerging in the future is higher than ever, with the potential to wreak havoc on health, economies and global security.”

World Wildlife Fund, 2020


A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Report published in June, and supported by the United Nations and World Health Organisation, has highlighted how humanity’s destruction of nature will make Pandemic’s more likely, with the risks having been ignored for decades.[22] Further to this, there is growing evidence that the impact of coronavirus has worsened due to Air Pollution, which has contributed to spreading the virus[23] and contributed to the deaths of people who have underlying health conditions caused by Air Pollution[24]. Therefore, there is now a need for more innovative forms of physical activity that can provide interactive learning and learning through interactive activity.


The 2020s were always going to be decade of change as the impact of Global Heating accelerated and as humanity sought ways to mitigate for, and reduce, the impact of Climate Change. However, the pace of change in first six months of the 2020 has been greater than expected. The impact of the destruction of our planet and our lifestyles have been laid bare, exposing further the health and well-being inequalities previously mentioned.


The UK Student Climate Network, that held protests across the UK during 2019, saw young protestors carry banners and chanting “Climate Justice = Social Justice”. This statement is true, if we consider that by saving our planet from destruction, we can also improve the quality of life and community cohesion for all communities. The Youth Charter’s ‘Carbonwise’ programme developed in 2006 provides and educational attainment and cross curricular learning experience through sport, art and cultural activity and helps provide awareness to disadvantaged and disaffected young people and communities where Climate Change is not a priority in their everyday lives.


In the UK our high streets and city centres were already under economic strain prior to the pandemic and are now facing increasing store closures. However, this also provides the opportunity to re-think our high streets, city centres, inner cities, suburban and rural areas, and how we can promote walking, running and cycling, as greener, cheaper and healthier modes of transport, and thus reduce Air Pollution and Carbon Emissions.


Again, physical and cultural activity can help regenerate and renew our highstreets and develop a social, cultural and economic eco-system that also rebuilds civic and civil society.


The idea of car-free cities had been a major consideration prior to the pandemic, with 11 global cities, including Birmingham in the UK, committed to making environments that are safer for walking, running and cycling[25]. Creating car-free communities would have a wide range of economic, social and environmental benefits that would improve quality of life and community cohesion, and can even help our high-streets reinvent themselves as inviting places to visit. Active Travel will improve the health and well-being of youth and communities and improve their resilience to future pandemics, whilst reducing carbon emissions and air pollution and in turn reducing the risk of future pandemics occurring.


The disruption caused by the pandemic provides the opportunity for the UK to “Build Back Better” and the “Better” should be Greener, Cheaper and Healthier…




Millions of children and young people have had their education and learning disrupted since the UK went into Lockdown in March 2020. Whilst vulnerable children and those of key workers were allowed to attend school during the lockdown very few did. As with other social inequalities, the Lockdown has further highlighted the Education inequalities across the UK, between regions and in communities.


The Pupil Engagement in Remote Learning report[26], found that only 48% of pupils from secondary school with highest numbers eligible for free school meals were engaged with learning activities, this compared to 66% and 77% for pupils at schools in middle and higher brackets. Whilst everyone is in agreement that schools should be opened as soon as possible, the challenges of reopening are huge and as schools open the true scale of the challenge will begin to reveal itself as we progress into the Autumn and Winter terms.


Class sizes will be key focus for reducing the risk of the spreading of the Covid-19 in schools, however, in recent years class sizes have been increasing in state secondary schools since 2015, from an average of 21.2 in 2018 to 21.7 in 2019. For state primary schools, the average class size in 27.1, this compares to class sizes of 16.1 at Independent State Schools.[27] Before the pandemic head teachers, school governors, councils and unions had been calling for an extra £5.5bn in funding to avoid financial difficulties and cuts.[28]


Young People who are in their crucial exam years have been hit hard with the uncertainty of how it will affect their aspirations for further and higher education, with employment training and apprenticeship opportunities reduced due to the recession. GCSE and A-Level students were to be given exam results based on teacher assessments and mock results, with data algorithm design to compensate for result inflation. However, the data algorithm unfairly penalised pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, with pupils from the Independent Schools the least affected, further highlighting the education inequalities, with Equalities and Human Rights Commission warning it will intervene.[29]


The economic pressures on schools will be coupled with economic pressures on the public purse, however the UK’s long-term prosperity is dependent on ensuring that children get the Quality Education they all deserve.  The UK’s historical social inequalities will be not be overcome without an outstanding world class education system. Reducing class sizes is key to ensuring that pupils get a Quality Education, as well as reducing the risks of spreading Covid-19.






The UK’s Economy went into record breaking recession in the first two quarters of 2020, shrinking by 2.4% for January to March and then 20.4% for April to June, following the onset of the pandemic in March and the Lockdown that began at the end of March[30]. The UK was by far the hardest hit out of the G7 Economies with other countries recording GDP falls of: 13.8% France; 12.4% Italy; 12% Canada; 10.1% Germany; 9.5% USA; 7.6% Japan[31]. The prospect of a No Deal Brexit at the end of the year is also presenting further uncertainty for both recovery and future growth.


The government’s furlough scheme - introduced in March and wound down from August to October - protected millions of jobs and livelihoods in the short term. Despite this 730,000 people were removed from payrolls between April and June[32], with millions more expected to lose their jobs as the Furlough is brought to end in October.


The people who will worst affected by job losses and loss of earnings will be people from low income, BAME backgrounds, and young people. The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit sectors, with many people from the aforementioned backgrounds working in this sector and many of them on zero-hour contracts.


The economic crisis also provides the opportunity for the UK to review how its economy is structured and how it can provide increased resilience during periods of uncertainty and crisis. The idea of a Universal Basic Income - to “cover basic costs of living” - has been proposed as one way to “alleviate poverty and give people time to retrain and adapt to changing workplaces, be more creative and become active and engaged”[33]. Such a system would provide resilience to the economy during periods of extreme stress, similar to what is now being experienced. Young People would be able to use the basic income to support themselves through academic studies, training programmes and through periods of temporary and/or insecure work. A Universal Basic Income would reduce the risk of young people from low income backgrounds falling prey to criminal gangs.


The future economy will be shaped by the impact of Climate Change and Global Heating and the UK will have to mitigate and adjust for this. Our methods of consumption and production will have to be modified to meet these challenges and during this period of change we will need to ensure workers, young and old, are able to change to the new economy and working practices.


The UK’s future Industrial Planning should be focused on a Green Industrial Revolution and decarbonising the economy as quickly as possible. The UK’s building stock is responsible for 30% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The government’s £2billion green homes grants is a move in the right direction, but it is estimated that it will cost £65billion investment in energy efficiency upgrades is required to meet a UK-wide target for homes to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C by 2035”.[34] As part of a Green Industrial Revolution, this presents a massive opportunity to train young people to carry out the upgrade requirements and to learn new valuable skills for the future.





31 August 2020

















[15] MacPherson.W., (1999), The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry: Report of an Inquiry by Sir William MacPherson of Cluny, Advised by Tom Cook, The Right Revered Dr John

[16] Race Disparity Audit: Summary Findings from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website, (2017), Cabinet Office, UK Government


[18] Olusoga.D, (2019), The Unwanted: Secret Windrush Files, BBC Avail at

[19] Williams.W., (2020), Windrush Lessons Learned Review, Independent review by Wendy Williams

[20] Gower.M., (2020), Windrush Generation: Government Action to 'right the wrongs', Briefing Paper, House of Commons Library, UK Government

[21] Exploratory analysis of 10-17 year olds in the youth secure estate by black and other minority ethnic groups, (2017), Ministry of Justice Analytical Services, UK Government