During 2018, Good Things Foundation was funded by the Government Equalities Office to deliver activities to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act and Qualification of Women Act. They created Voicebox Cafes as an innovative, nationwide project to engage young women through a programme of activities covering education, participation and celebration of UK democracy.
In delivering the Voicebox Cafes we aimed to provide safe, creative and well-facilitated spaces to engage with young women, enabling them to explore democracy and their own power to support, challenge and change. We designed the programme based on evidence from our network and previous projects using a blended community and digital approach which was integrated right across the project from the learning resources to social media campaigns. It provided invaluable tools to help the participants’ voices reach more people, and offered opportunities for spread and scale. Groups learnt about the value of connecting with local MPs, influencers and online political materials such as e-petitions.
Voicebox Cafes supported women to build their own and each other’s confidence in speaking out on issues that matter to them and discover how to use their democratic voice to the full. Reaching deep into local communities, our project focused on women who have traditionally not engaged in democracy and civil life to enable them to join forces and amplify their voice.
In 2018, 1,283 women were involved and the percentage who understand democratic processes increased from 27% to 92%, and the percentage who are likely to participate in democratic processes increased from 28% to 85%.
Learner Rheima said, “My knowledge and participation was pretty non-existent before. I’ve learnt to pay more attention to my environment. I’ve become more conscious of my place in the world and how I contribute to society.”