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engagED: Key Findings, Recommendations & Outcomes

Key Findings

Many young people from socio-economically disadvantaged communities are civically engaged;

These young people gain many benefits from being civically engaged;

There are, however, many barriers to being civically engaged;

Our research shows that it is imperative that all young people have the opportunity to be civically engaged.

Recommendations: Five fundamentals of good practice

Our findings led us to propose five fundamentals of good practice for those working with young people from socially disadvantaged communities.

Thinking Differently: Think and probably act differently in order to challenge mis-conceptions about young people’s lives, experiences and starting points.

Listening Harder: Ensure we listen more carefully to everyone and that the results of listening are reflected in our practice.

Broadening Opportunities: Recognise all forms of civic action including those that take place in the family, community, school and cyberspace.

Making it Possible: Help young people to help themselves succeed in civic action that matters to them.

Rewarding Experiences: Support young people to reflect on and recognize the benefits of their civic engagement and ensure that their contributions are recognized by others.


One of the Outcomes for engagED was the Forum for Youth Participation & Democracy which aimed to to draw together practitioners, young people, policy makers, and researchers from Cambridge University and around the world to explore the problem of youth exclusion in decision-making. We were particularly concerned with improving public understanding and application of the ‘Cooperative Problem-Solving’ approach, and tackling the inter-related barriers of:

  • Growing socio-economic marginalisation of the young;
  • Persistent discrimination on the grounds of gender, race or belief;
  • The anti-democratic impact of market individualism & traditionalist fundamentalism.

Outcomes Downloads:

Henry Tam's blog as Director of Forum for Youth Participation and Democracy from July 2011 to December 2014 (please note: not all the blog links are live at time of archiving - January 2015).

Henry Tams's investigations into ‘Cooperative Problem-Solving’.