Hounslow Action for Youth Association has been awarded £18,000 from a £1.5 million Government fund to increase diversity in politics. The local charity is one of seventeen large projects that have been awarded £406,667 to increase diversity in politics, the Minister for Women announced today (5 September).
Hounslow Action for Youth will use the money to run its “Agents for Change” weekly writing workshops run by award winning writers to better understand democracy and civic participation. The young women will also learn public speaking and presentation skills. They will present their work to local schools and youth centres to raise awareness of the issues faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women. Their stories will be in an anthology to give a voice to marginalised women whose voices are often not heard.
Debbie Hughes, CEO for Hounslow Action for Youth, comments: “Having the funds to start our “Agents for Change” programme will help us make a positive impact on the lives of local young women from minority groups. It will give them a voice in the local community as they share their experiences and lives with others. Feeling part of the community is the first step towards involvement which is an essential part of the democratic process. We learnt this when we launched our first book by our young women’s writing group, Inky Lemons, at the House of Commons earlier this year. It allowed the young women involved to feel part of this wider community.”
The new support, from a £1.5 million government fund, will back local projects supporting women and young people, especially disabled people, LGBT people and those from black and minority ethnic groups, to get involved in democracy and politics.
The organisations will set up a range of programmes directly benefitting at least 2347 people – including making documentaries celebrating women’s involvement in social groups, participating in a mock House of Commons debate, and building a website encouraging people with learning disabilities to vote.
Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said: “The brave women who fought for the equal rights of women and men to vote must be honoured. Today we have the highest number of women in history sitting in the House of Commons. However, at only 32% women MPs we have a long way to go before we see true equality. By funding these innovative projects we will inspire women and young people across the country to become active participants in our democracy. We want to see a new generation of women raise their voices, get stuck in and see how they can make a difference in their local communities and across the country.”
The grant scheme is part of a £5 million centenary fund to open politics to the public – celebrating the centenary, educating young people about its significance, and encouraging more women to get involved and have an equal voice in the decisions that affect them.