C1 Active Citizen

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Aim: To explore the rights and responsibilities of a citizen. Taken from the BB Seniors Challenge Plus Project Pro Pack Community C-1. This activity will also link in with activity C-1 (Politics) in the Company Section Discoverer pack


Flip chart & pens
History of Voting in the UK” template"
DVD Player
“Have Your Say” DVD by the Electoral Commission
• Pens
• Ballot papers
• Ballot box
Internet Access


Taster 1 - votes For All

Aim: To understand the importance of voting and the process behind it.

Voting is a method used by groups or societies to make a decision or express an opinion — often following discussions, debates or election campaigns.

Think about:

• How decisions are reached if there is a group of people and two or more competing ideas? Give an example.
• What is the process for voting and how do you go about deciding which way to vote? Give examples from your experience. You should be familiar with the general concept of voting on an issue, whether in elections at school/college or at local/national government level.
• Why do some votes take place in secret?
• Why do so many people who have the opportunity to vote, choose not to do so? Have the latest statistics on the percentage of eligible participants by age who voted in the last general election. Compare the local and national statistics.
• Has anyone had the opportunity to vote? Would you if you could?
• Why is it important to vote?

Voting hasn’t always been a universal right for everyone. Have a look at the History of Voting in the UK” template and discuss:

• Do we take voting seriously?

Women’s suffrage is the right of women to vote on the same terms as men. This was the goal of the suffragists and the “Suffragettes”. The first major country to give women the vote in national elections was New Zealand in 1893, although various states and territories in Australia and the United States had given women the vote prior to this. The first major country to give women the right to stand for election as well as to vote was Australia in 1902 and the first major European country was Finland in 1906. It wasn’t until the Representation of the People Act 1928 that in the UK women’s voting rights were made equal with men, with voting possible at 21 with no property restrictions.

Think About:

• Does this seem like a different world from today?
• Can you think of examples of countries where even today people have no right to vote?
• Are groups in the UK or Republic of Ireland excluded from the democratic process? You may need to highlight the under representation of women, minority ethnic groups, and the difficulty for young people to engage in politics.
• Should the voting age be lowered to16?

Taster 2 - Heroes

Aim: To think about how individuals have changed the world.

With a bit of thought and research every one will be able to think of a personal hero who stood up for what they believed in and changed the world, e.g. Martin Luther King. Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Emmeline Pankhurst. Think about who this is for you and talk about them for 2-3 minutes.

The following questions might help:

• What did they do?
• What did they say?
• What did they change?
• How did they make change happen?
• How have they influenced you?
• What is their legacy?

It would be useful to do some research prior to the night you are going to talk about your hero.

Taster 3 - How to Vote

Aim: To learn how to vote

Watch the “Have Your Say” DVD by the Electoral Commission that tells you all you need to know about registering to vote and taking part in elections. The DVD lasts 10 minutes, but leave time for any questions. Ask a member of the group to recap the process.

Get everyone 16 and over to register on the electoral role in preparation for voting.

Order you free DVD from "Have Your Say" www.aboutmyvote.co.uk

Taster 4 - Hold A Referendum

Aim: To see democracy in action

A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may be the adoption of a new constitution, a law, or simply a specific government policy. A referendum is a form of direct democracy.

Think about:

• When have you been asked to vote on a particular issue?
• Why do we not vote on everything all of the time?

At times people make decisions for other people because of the position they hold and when they are ultimately responsible. It might be possible to give a personal example from the group where the majority would want one thing, but a different decision was made. It might be because of policy or health and safety issues etc.

Organise a vote on one of the following types of issue:
1. An issue that only affects your group, e.g. what uniform should you wear, where do you want to go on camp or on a trip, what games to buy for the games console, what equipment to buy?
2. A local issue e.g. should there be space for young people to skateboard?
3. A national issue e.g. what the voting age should be, should you be able to smoke in public?

Think about:
• What is the question? Decide on the issue of the referendum.
• Is it easy to understand? Does it lead people to vote one way or another?
• Who will be able to vote?
• Will everyone have one vote? e.g. if voting on a trip, will it be the venue with the most votes chosen? If there are three possible venues, are there any other ways of voting?Will it be in order of preference e.g. voting 1,2,3?
• When will the referendum be held?
• Who will campaign for which side? e.g. if it is a trip there may be two options and two sides will need to prepare information about each. Organise two parties, one in favour and one against the question.
• How will the campaign be constructed? Will there be a public debate? Who will chair it?
• How will people know what they are voting about? e.g. posters, advertisements, slogans.
• How will people vote? Will it be a secret ballot or will it be a show of hands?
• Who will explain how the vote will take place?
• Will there be a ballot box and papers? Who will make them? Remember to include on the paper the referendum question and boxes for yes’ and no.
• Who will count the votes once the polls have closed? Remember to calculate the turnout i.e. the percentage of those eligible who voted.
• Who will announce the result and when?

Now hold the ballot and see democracy in action!

-Depending on the issue information needs to be available.

Tips /Advice:
• The process is just as important as the outcome. This may be the first time that some young people have been involved in decision making. Encourage the importance of using your vote when you are given the opportunity.
• Acton the result of the vote.
• Don’t vote on something that will definitely be vetoed.
• Remember in a democracy, it is important that the majority view takes into account the views of the minority.
• The Boys’ Brigade is currently trying to increase the say that young people have at every level of the organisation. Look at how you can get involved in your Regional Committee, District, or Battalion.

Christian Faith - Christianity and Politics

Aim: To discuss whether politics and Christianity should remain separate.


Some people believe that politics and faith should not mix and be separate in a person’s life. If we look at the life of Jesus, what conclusions can we draw?

Read Matthew 22:15-22 (Jesus advocates paying taxes).

Think about:
• What does this show about Jesus’ view of political systems?
• Was Jesus saying he was not here to overthrow the Roman authorities, but to challenge the religious authorities?

Read Mark 11-15-18 (Jesus showed his anger at what was happening in the temple).

Think about:
When is it right to be angry?
• What would cause Jesus to be angry today?

• What is a Christian response to these issues?
Does being a Christian mean that you should favour a political party? Or does it mean that you should stay out of politics? Look at .christiansinpoliticsorg.uk. On the homepage there is this forward, Despite our political differences we respect each other’s political involvement and want to encourage more Christians — and other people of goodwill, committed to the common good — into public life.

Project - My Cause Is ?

Aim: To explore issues concerning the rights and responsibilities of being part of a community and develop a campaign relating to an issue of concern in your community.

Consider a number of issues that are relevant to your community, e.g. youth provision, civil rights, environment, disabled provision, poverty, animal welfare, gun crime, housing.

Think about:
• What are areas of concern for the community? How do you know? e.g. local newspapers, TV, ask local residents etc.
• Which one issue will you campaign about? Consider what issues the group feels strongly about, what are the community’s priorities, what are your priorities?
Research the issue as it effects individuals and groups, e.g. if the issue is youth provision then you need to research the availability of activities for young people in your area. Are certain groups excluded? Are there activities to attract different aptitudes, ages, interests etc? What gaps in provision are there?

Think about:
• Who do you need to influence? This will depend on the issue chosen, but may well include local council, residents’ groups etc.
• What are your objectives? Awareness raising, or to resolve the issue, or both?
• How you are going to raise awareness? e.g. an event, campaign site etc.
• Is a resolution realistic?

If you plan an event think about:
• Where it will be held?
• When?
• What’s the budget?
• Who will come?
• Who will you invite?
• How will you publicise it?
• Who else can help with your event? e.g. volunteer agencies, community organisations and other groups.
• How will you get those you need to influence to attend?
• Can you arrange a face to face meeting to explain what you are seeking to achieve?
• Who (individuals/groups) may be a barrier to your campaign?

Utilise your skills and talents and allocate tasks for everyone. Now stage the event. Remember after the event to evaluate the success of the project. You may not have achieved eveiything you had hoped for but you will have made a difference.

For further details see the BB Seniors Challenge Plus Program Pack Community C1


  • active
  • challenge Plus
  • citizen
  • community
  • community project
  • seniors

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