WHO ARE WE?
EDUCATION4DEMOCRACY NE is a non-profit, party-neutral registered social enterprise company based in Newcastle, but operating across the region. Founded in 2015 by Stephen Lambert, a social entrepreneur, the organization is supported by 12 Advisory Board members drawn from the world of government, academia, further education, the third sector, health, community development, business and young people
Education4Democracy NE Cic is a member of Newcastle CVS and the North East Social Enterprise Partnership.
The company’s vision statement is to boost democratic engagement amongst excluded and marginalized groups including young people, adults with physical and learning disabilities, people with mental health issues, the ‘economically inactive’, lone-parents and some sections of the BAME community.
IS THEIR A NEED?
Yes. The central aim of Education4Democracy NE is to address the crisis of democratic engagement which is a key feature of the regional landscape and provide solutions through educational and campaigning activities.
In the 2015 general election only 66% of those registered to vote did so. One third of the electorate didn’t bother. Only 43% of young adults aged 18 to 24-year old voted – down on the 2010 election. In 1983 three-quarters of this age cohort voted. Electoral ‘turn-out’ in the most disadvantaged communities in the North East is low: 56% turn-out in the Newcastle Central constituency compared to 78% in Hexham, Northumberland.
Turn-out in council elections is even lower – about 34%. In the Police and Crime Commissioner election of 2012 only 15% of voters across Northumbria voted. 5m people across the UK are unregistered including young people, students, minorities and low-income households in inner-city rented accommodation. Only a tiny minority of the region’s populace belongs to a political party: in the fifties over 3m people joined the main parties. Likewise only a small section of the wider community is involved in campaign or pressure groups.
The causes for low levels of civic participation are complex ranging from lack of political knowledge, apathy and distrust. Our organization is about informing, educating, engaging and empowering those groups in the broader community who believe that politics or civic affairs doesn’t impact on them.
OUR AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
- To inform, educate, engage and empower marginalized groups about the workings of British democracy including civic participation: the role of elected representatives; local, central, devolved and European levels of governance; the role and ideologies of political parties; Pressure and Campaign groups; the legal system and current political issues.
- To deliver high quality bespoke learning sessions and workshops to schools, colleges, adult education centres, community groups and youth organisations on all aspects of citizenship education with the aim of promoting ‘active citizenship’.
- To deliver bespoke training on ‘Understanding and Challenging Political Extremism’.
- To deliver bespoke training at various levels on all aspects of equality and diversity to voluntary bodies, educational establishments and SME businesses in the region.
- To campaign on issues relating to civic disengagement such as voter registration and participation.
- To conduct localized empirical research into civil society and civic participation utilizing a range of methodologies such as surveys, focus groups and desk research.
- Citizenship Education (Including Private Tuition in Sociology, Government & Politics and Modern British Social, Political History up to A-level)
- Understanding and Challenging Political Extremism
- Equality and Diversity Training covering legal framework and bases of discrimination
- Campaigning work: Promoting Voter Registration and Participation in the democratic process.