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Funded by the Europe Union through the Europe for Citizens Fund the Young Mayor Team are part of a project called Be Active Shape Europe. It is a partnership led by an organisation called Kedith in Thessalonikki in Greece. The other partners are Santa Maria da Feira in Portugal who we do lots of work with, Association” Varna – European Youth Capital” in Bulgaria, Mladinski Cultural Center, Maribor in Slovenia and Comune di Cinisello Blasamo in Italy.

The project started last year and the first two activities took place here in Lewisham. It meant organising two days of activities in our council building, the Civic Suite: a Structured Dialogue meeting and a National workshop, inviting young people to participate, identify issues and how then to share those and negotiate with politicians and policy makers, locally nationally and in Europe. The Young Mayor Team work closely with local politicians so this was an opportunity to see how to widen that influence into Europe. It was also an opportunity to learn more about Europe and specifically think about the UKs position in terms of Brexit and what that might mean. Schools were invited to participate, the events took place on 6th May 2019 and the 3rd February 2020 at the Civic Suite in Catford.

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The Structured Dialogue took place on 6th May 2019 10am – 3pm

Young People identifying what is important to them, how to be active locally in democratic processes. Gaining an understanding of local decision making and meeting with stakeholders. Developing young people’s understanding of European values. Introducing the partner countries and exploring intercultural understandings and areas for learning and participation.

An opportunity also to talk to local politicians about their views on Europe and the Brexit situation. It was useful in terms of the Brexit situation and having an opportunity to think and talk about what that would mean for them and the UK as a whole. It has been very divisive in the UK, but the majority of young people in Lewisham have families and friends in different areas of the world and Europe, as its a diverse population, so most were keen to remain part of the EU.