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#milifandom and #cameronettes should work with charities to get their voices heard

23 April 2015

Pre-voting-age teens joining social media trends #milifandom and the #cameronettes should put their political enthusiasm into helping charities, says the Charities Aid Foundation.
 
Volunteering or campaigning on behalf of a voluntary sector organisation is the best way for young people to get their voices heard, get involved in activism and gain political awareness before they're allowed to vote, said the organisation.
 
Turnout amongst under 24s at the 2010 General Election was just 44%, according to Ipsos Mori. However, the Community Life Survey shows 74% of 16-24s have volunteered in the past year, showing that young people are increasingly turning to non-traditional ways of engagement to make a difference.
 
Young people are increasingly likely to see charities and social enterprises as the most effective agents for social change, according to Demos, and a CAF study showed two-thirds of teachers believe that the current generation of young people is more concerned with social issues than those in the past.
 
Hannah Terrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, which helps people and businesses support the causes they care about, and provides financial services designed for the charitable sector, said: "We've seen a sudden explosion of political interest among younger teenagers this week on social media, playing into the ongoing debate around lowering the voting age in the UK.
 
"But as these new hashtags have proven, even though under 18s can't vote in this election, today's young people are more skilled than any other generation at getting their voices heard, and have a huge influence on social media.
 
"Charities are often the instigators of some of the policy ideas we hear debated day to day by politicians, and have a huge amount of influence in shaping manifestos and holding the government to account.
 
"They present a fantastic opportunity for young activists to use their passion and power to do a great deal of good, raise awareness and rally support for vital social issues, and have long been called the nursery schools of democracy."
 
Research also shows:
•         34% of young people say social media will influence the way they vote in the election
•         78% of young people agree that 'young people should give up some of their time to help others
•         53% of young people agree that 'it is more important to help others than to help yourself
•         Over 70% of young people said that their participation in social action improved their motivation in school
•         Growing Up Giving

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