OFOC were in Sunderland last week, where the campaign hosted an event on how Brexit stands to affect young people.
The views we heard from the young people gathered together last Friday to raise and amplify the voice of Sunderland in the Brexit process show that we could not have kicked off our Stand Up For Our Future tour in a better region. Student Aaisha Hague captured the general feeling of the event with her nod to the urgency of the situation: ‘right now Sunderland needs open conversation about the future and really about the effects of Brexit. Conversation that isn’t led by media or the tabloid papers but by people.’
Young people from Sunderland and the surrounding areas made sure that they were a part of that conversation. Chatting to Femi Oluwole for a couple of hours at the Sunderland Civic Centre, they expressed their frustration at Westminster to address the issues that are going to effect Sunderland if the UK leaves the EU. ‘The EU have been picking up the brunt of the lack of funding given by the government’ was a sentiment which echoed across the room. The young people we spoke to were acutely aware of the level of funding Sunderland receives from the EU – suggesting that this has gone some way to making up for the failure of Westminster to properly engage with the area – and were particularly concerned with how this gap would be filled.
Nick travelled from Gateshead to make sure his voice was heard and he expressed his dissatisfaction at the situation: ‘It’s been a one-egg-in-one-basket economic policy which has been “make sure London survives” for the last 25 years.' He continued, ‘I’m not aware of there being any real discussions about how the government is going to fill in the gap left by EU funding. They have not been working with the public to work out how the EU will be filled – as a British citizen I have nothing to be confident about.’
A successful first stop on our tour. Head to http://www.writeto.vote/ to find out about our upcoming events, and we hope to see you there!