Lib Dem Leader Sir Ed Davey joins Quarantine Question Time

Ed Davey takes questions from young people across the country, including from #iwill Ambassadors Harry and Jonelle on youth representation, mental health and social and racial inequalities.

Earlier this summer we kicked off the #PowerOfYouth national conversation – a nationwide collaborative effort aiming to recognise young people for their efforts and sacrifices since lockdown began, empower more young people to make a difference, and give young people opportunities to shape the future. 

As part of this effort, on 7th August, Acting Lib Dem Leader Sir Ed Davey joined a Quarantine Question Time event for young people – co-organised by the #iwill campaign and My Life My Say.

During the event, he remarked that: 

“[When considering government spending] Let’s take care of people, let’s look after people – it’s about priorities. When this is the priority, things that previously seemed difficult become easier.”

Other areas he focused on during the event were his own experiences of being a young carer and of bereavement, and his concerns about reduced support for bereaved families. He also spoke of his ongoing passion for the environment and for a green recovery from Covid-19, and recognised the achievements of Greta Thunberg and young British climate strikers. His final message was one of the centrality of people’s wellbeing when assessing the success of policy and funding, emphasising that the UK should follow the path of New Zealand and include wellbeing in growth measures.

In responding to questions from #iwill Ambassadors, Sir Ed Davey shared his commitment to young people’s mental health, and to an alternative approach to democratic engagement which would give young people more opportunities to input into decision making. Solutions proposed included a mental health charter for universities, decentralising power from Westminster, and the creation of digital platforms allow people to suggest changes they wanted to see in their area, and to see these changes made real.

#iwill Ambassador Jonelle, youth representative on the Back Youth Alliance, asked the question:

“What will you do about the increasing demand on CAMHS due to the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic, including the particular challenge of young people facing the reality of racial and socioeconomic injustices?”

Reflecting on the event, Jonelle shared that:

“The Quarantine Question Time with Sir Ed went really well. Upon asking my question about the increasing demand on CAMHS, he was able to show his dedication to possible solutions for young peoples mental health services. He also explained the importance of ensuring high quality mental health services are available in the long term.

However we didn’t get to answer how to support young people who are facing the particular challenge of young people facing the reality of racial and socioeconomic injustices, which was a big shame.

Overall it was lovely to see that Sir Ed is a keen supporter of improving mental health provision for young people and I hope he can add pressure to the government in implementing this.”

#iwill Ambassador Harry, volunteer for The Mix and member of the BYC DCMS Youth Steering Group, asked:

“What can the Liberal Democrats do to ensure that the voices of young people are amplified in local and national decision making processes, so that we are able to use our skills and insights to create a better world?”

Reflecting after the event, Harry shared that:

“Sir Ed Davey hit the nail on the head on Friday when he said that engaging with just one young person isn’t job done, because young people are individuals with different views and perspectives.

His vision for a democracy that doesn’t just speak to young people, but that actively empowers them to make change in society was inspiring. It was a true pleasure to be involved in this conversation, let’s hope he will continue lobbying for youth voice in the future.”

Feeling inspired? Join the conversation! Download your guide to holding a youth listening event here or use these quick steps to reach out to your MP to ask them to hold a listening event.

Catch the thread on Twitter to read live tweets from the event.