A group of young disabled people honed their debating skills in Portsmouth this Friday to celebrate World Youth Skills Day. World Youth Skills Day (15th July) is a United Nations designated day to raise awareness on the importance of investing in youth skills development.
The debaters were volunteers from charity Leonard Cheshire’s Can Do programme, which supports young disabled people on their journey towards independence through giving them opportunities to build and develop skills.
The Can Doers first participated in a debating workshop at Portsmouth City Council, run by Portsmouth organisation Unloc, that aims to empower young people to be innovative changemakers who seek to build stronger communities and sustainable businesses.
Following the workshop, the Can Doers took part in a mock debate in Portsmouth City Council’s debating chambers, chaired by Stephen Morgan, Labour MP for Portsmouth South.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“It was a delight to take part in the debate with Can Do. These young people could have a bright future in politics ahead of them if they continue to debate as well as they did today. Supporting youth in developing their skills is something we should all get behind this World Youth Skills day.”
One of the Can Do debaters, Carly, said:
“Being part of this debate has given me the opportunity to give my own opinions and to have my voice heard on behalf of other people who aren’t as able or can’t communicate as well. Sometimes disabled people can experience a lack of encouragement and a lack of confidence because they are not listened to by professionals.
“Having the chance to talk to local decision makers about these issues is important because it helps to build confidence and we get to speak to and meet different people to develop our public speaking skills.”