Conservative conference: Timpson pledges to champion youth voice

By Lauren Higgs

| 10 October 2012

The new children's minister Edward Timpson has pledged to listen to the voices of young people and youth services professionals in a bid to carry on the legacy of his predecessor Tim Loughton.

Edward Timpson has promised to listen to young people's views. Image: Robin Hammond

Speaking at a British Youth Council (BYC) event at the Conservative party conference, Timpson said he hopes to follow in Loughton’s footsteps.

“Tim did three things that are vital when trying to work together with young people,” Timpson said. “First of all is passion, wanting to be there and help young people. Secondly is understanding – something that we all know is a really important prerequisite to working with young people.

“If you understand why they want to do something, or feel that there are barriers in their way, then you can actually start to help break down those barriers.

“The third, and perhaps most important one of all, is to actually listen. It doesn’t always come easily to everybody. Tim was tireless in making sure that he gave everyone his ear, he listened carefully to young people and what they wanted and how he could help them deliver it. Those are three principles I hope to take forward and follow on in Tim’s footsteps.”

Timpson said he entered politics to help disadvantaged children, but insisted he is committed to improving services for all children and young people.

“All children and young people need to have that voice and that opportunity to be heard,” he said. “My job in these early stages is to listen very carefully to all of you: what you want, and what more you feel we could do for you, so that we can build on much of the great work that has already been done in the last few years and before.

“I look forward to meeting you in the months and years ahead as we try to work together for young people across the whole of the country.”

James Cathcart, chief executive of BYC, said that Timpson’s comments would come as a relief to the sector.

“Although it is very early days I take encouragement from the willingness to not only reference Tim Loughton’s work but to show willing to follow in his footsteps, stressing the importance of listening to young people and building on much of the ‘great’ work that has already been done,” he said. 

“Many will be relieved too that he is willing to listen to all children and young people, not just the most disadvantaged, who are important too.”

He added that there is “quite a list of things” that young people want to discuss with Timpson at the next meeting of the national youth scrutiny group and the UK Youth Parliament sitting in Westminster, both of which have now been confirmed in his diary.

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