What this general election means for children like me

Chan, young ambassador
Chan - an Action for Children Young Ambassador
Friday 31 May 2024
YA Parliament

14-year-old Chan can’t vote in this election. But she has a message for political parties running in the 2024 general election.

Chan’s message to Westminster

"I’m not able to vote in this election – I’m 14. But I will be able to vote in the next."

"I’d like to say to all the political parties running for election that things seem to be getting worse for myself and for children in the UK. That young people must be an important part of any change political parties want to make. And that children's voices and needs must be at the beginning, middle, and end of any important decisions they make."

Help us make children a priority

Join our Children at the Table campaign

Sign the petition (opens in a new tab)

What I’m asking of our next Prime Minister

"I’m asking our next Prime Minister to:

  • Be bold and brave when making decisions about our childhoods and our futures.
  • Make positive changes for a better future for every child, no matter their race, gender or social background.
  • Walk a mile in my shoes so they could understand the daily life and challenges faced by children like me."
Young People CATT Launch

Our Young Ambassadors meet Helen Hayes, Shadow Minister for Children, in Parliament

We need political parties to listen to children and young people

"Children are an important part of society. We’re the hope and future of the country. But if we don't see ourselves as a priority for those in power, then we could end up with a hopeless society. A society where young people grow up with no ambition or aspiration. Where they feel there's nothing to look forward to."

"But children like me are not always in the position to speak up easily. So, I'm asking political parties to champion the rights of all children. I’m asking them to see the care of children, particularly children in the social care system, as a civil rights matter."

I'm asking them to include us in every single decision they make about us.

CATT Johnston

Children's Minister, David Johnston, meets Young Ambassadors from Action for Children, Barnardo's, NCB, NSPCC, and The Children's Society

"Children see things differently to adults. And unless we tell the adults how we feel, they aren’t going to know or understand our perspective."

"Not listening to children can cause problems in society. Because professionals that take care of children – like teachers, doctors, and police officers – take the lead from the government."

Children should also take notice of what politicians say. But it goes both ways - if politicians ignore our needs, then children will stop listening to them.

We want children to be heard

Join our Children at the Table campaign

Sign the petition (opens in a new tab)

How we’re helping children be heard

We've partnered with Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, the National Children’s Bureau and NSPCC to create the Children at the Table campaign.

Children at the Table asks the government to put babies, children, and young people at the centre of decision making. To bring children to the table.

For young people like Chan, Children at the Table is a chance to have their voices heard directly by MPs and decision makers. But it's also a chance to speak up for more children and young people.

YP queuing

our Young Ambassadors heading into Parliament

Why Chan joined the Children at the Table campaign

"Joining Children at the Table meant I could meet young campaigners from other charities. We went to Parliament to launch the campaign."

Chan and Floella

"I wanted to do my best to make sure our voices and needs were listened to. Most teenagers I know don’t think that politicians represent them. I wanted to get our voices across, so politicians would see children as real people and the future voters of this country."

"It can be very tiring and frustrating seeing everything around you falling apart and feeling powerless to fix it. Meeting other young ambassadors helped me to feel hopeful that we can make and be the change we want to see."

Are you a candidate who would like to join the campaign?

Email us

What our next government needs to do

As part of the Children at the Table campaign we’re asking all for the next government to work together to make children’s lives better. They need to invest more of the UK's wealth in babies, children and young people.

This collaboration and investment are needed to address rising child poverty, reform children’s social care, provide family help services, and improve children’s health.

Chan's top 10 issues for our next Prime Minister:

  1. Millions of children are in poverty, or are homeless – this affects their education, particularly when they’re struggling to even eat properly.
  2. Children from poorer backgrounds are missing out on opportunities like education, sports, music and drama.
  3. Children don’t feel safe on the streets – some feel like they have to carry knives.
  4. Many children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) aren’t getting the best education to help them meet their potential.

5. Children in the social care system often don’t get good care.

6. Some children in care are moved far from their families

7. Children who are adopted face a whole range of challenges.

In my opinion, being care experienced should be protected characteristic.

8. Young people aren’t able to get the mental wellbeing care they need.

9. Social media is causing real problems, and we’re too often faced with content online which we’re not emotionally ready for.

10. Children’s health is being affected by junk food and vapes.

Help us make children a priority
Sign the petition (opens in a new tab)

Let's put children at the heart of the next government

Read the report (opens in a new tab)