North East Connected

North East Charity’s Shadow EU Referendum For Young People

youth focus largeYouth Focus: North East created an online voting website and staged an unofficial shadow EU Referendum for 16-25 year-olds.

(June 21 – 2016) An unofficial shadow EU Referendum for young people has been held by a North East charity to boost the number of 16-25 year olds voting for real on June 23.

Youth Focus: North East, a charity set up to improve the lives of young people in North East England, launched an online voting website called MyReferendum in response to fears that many young people simply wouldn’t turn out to vote.

A total of 1096 people cast their vote on the My Referendum website before the shadow referendum closed at midnight on Sunday.

The results will be announced on Friday June 24, following the official EU Referendum result.

Leon Mexter, chief executive of Youth Focus: North East, said: “It’s been great to see our young people engaged by this landmark moment in British politics.

The youth voice is often overlooked and under-valued in politics. It shouldn’t be, which is why we ran a shadow referendum, to help young people understand and connect with the complex issues and dynamics around leaving or staying in The European Union.”

Voters logged in using their Facebook account and were given access to resources and information for young people undecided about how to vote. Jack Stoker, 20, from Sunderland is one of the developers of the My Referendum website and president of Newcastle College Students Union.

Jack said: “This is the biggest political decision the country has faced for some time and we wanted young people to feel confident enough to have their say.”

Jack is a key member of Youth Focus: North East’s My Manifesto project, which aims to make politics more accessible to young people.

The My Manifesto group also staged EU Referendum events and roadshows around the region, including pizza and politics nights and two Hustings events featuring politicians and lobbyists from the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ camps.

The group also used digital and social media to encourage more young people to register and vote, including live streaming debates on Facebook, posing questions to politicians and speakers using live tweets and broadcasting the views of young people on YouTube.

For more information about Youth Focus: North East, visit:

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