Dear readers, contributors, supporters and members,

That magical time is upon us once again, but I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t feeling it. As Darlene Love sang in the 1963 ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ classic ‘… it’s not like Christmas at all …’ — indeed it is not. A nanoscopic virus has succeeded where the Grinch had failed. But all is not lost. The spirits can be revived by doing good deeds and remembering to be thankful for the small, as well as the great, triumphs and challenges that ultimately both humble and fortify us.

Our blazing Team at SOUK would like to say a few words of Christmas thanks.

Lucas Scott-Harston: Opportunities Development Coordinator

Joining Shout Out UK this year has been an amazingly enriching experience, for me personally. I am especially grateful for the support of our partners at the DCMS, MOPAC, NATO, and the US Embassy. Without their support, we would not be able to run our programmes, and ultimately, help make a positive difference in the lives of our beneficiaries.

Looking ahead, I hope that this next year will bring even more opportunities for growth, both personally, but also for Shout Out UK as a whole, as this would allow us to continue expanding to new areas and developing new partnerships.

Alice Phoenix: Education Coordinator

I am thankful for the perseverance and passion that teachers have shown this year. Various projects have relied on teachers’ determination to negotiate the unpredictable climate of Covid-19, all to provide their students with more opportunities.

I have taught in various schools this year and it is evident that young people across the UK are passionate about political issues, both local and global. With our courses and workshops, we have been able to act as a vessel for young people to voice their opinions and feel confident in engaging with the world around them.

Danielle Vaughan: Campaigns Coordinator

I am thankful for Shout Out UK’s efforts to show that political literacy education is a non-partisan issue. We have been able to set up the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Political Literacy in January of 2021 and the response from parliamentarians has been fantastic. I also want to spotlight our chairs, Lord Iain McNicol and Simon Fell, for all the hard work they have put in with the APPG and various media responsibilities.

While I am thanking parliamentarians, I would like to say a massive thank you to Kim Leadbeater for promoting Political Literacy Day 2021 on BBC Breakfast. Between Kim and the 35 other parliamentarians that pledged their support for political literacy, we have been able to show why political literacy education is worth teaching.

I am also extremely thankful for all the civil society organisations, teachers and students that supported Political Literacy Day 2021 by backing our #WorthTeaching campaign and attending the various events. The outpour of support has meant that we were able to reach over 250,000 people, showing that political literacy is a non-partisan issue and something that should rightly become a staple part of the curriculum.

It’s hard to thank everyone who has helped spread the message of political and media literacy, so I’ll close by thanking all our APPG members who have supported our various activities throughout the year.

Ralitsa Raleva: Head of Policy & Stakeholder Relations

This past year has certainly been eventful. We have started to settle further into the reality of online/hybrid working (with bursts of office attendance!), while clinging to the hope that very soon ‘everything will get back to normal’.

Despite the inevitable ups and downs, I’ve tried to reflect and think about what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunities we’ve had the chance to bring to young people across the country! Our team has worked tirelessly across a variety of projects, all aiming to strengthen youth voices — be that through voter registration during London Voter Registration Week, direct policy recommendations for ministers by young people from all walks of life (as a part of our Youth Policy Development Group project with DCMS), or the continuous delivery of our Political Literacy programmes to empower those most underrepresented to take part in our democracy.

I would like to say a massive thank you to our funders and supporters, without whom we would not have been able to do all of this amazing work! And of course, thank you to all the wonderful people in SOUK (including those that have now moved to greener pastures) who made working together to ensure a better future for the next generation a true bliss (albeit mostly online!)

Spencer Caminsky: Digital Communications Officer

What I am most thankful for this year at SOUK, is the fact that I was finally able to meet my coworkers in person and spend time working with them in the office. Because I joined Shout Out UK in the summer of last year, I was never able to meet any of the team members face-to-face until this year — and it was well worth the wait.

Despite many big projects on our plate, I was so thankful for the chilled out, diligent but oftentimes amusing office environment. Working alongside my coworkers made me feel even more a part of the team than previously. Our successes were celebrated together, and I felt supported even further in my most stressful moments. Every single member of the team (including our Editor, who I look forward to hopefully meeting in person soon!) has been so kind to me, and that was only heightened when we started sharing a physical space.

I can’t wait to continue working with the team, whether virtually or in the office, and continuing to bring Political and Media Literacy to every single young person in Britain and beyond.

Matteo Bergamini: CEO & Founder

The past year has been an incredible test of everyone’s emotional resilience as we are pushed to continue enduring the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic. We have lost loved ones, friends, family. Many businesses and charities have stopped operating. People have seen their livelihoods completely ripped from them.

Yet, people endured. Not alone. Never alone. We have endured because of our friends, family or co-workers. So this year, I am thanking you, the amazing team of people I have had the fortune of surrounding myself with.

Through the thick of Covid, we have endured. But not only that. We have grown in numbers. Projects like the Youth Policy Development Group project with DCMS or LVRW 2021 occurred during this incredible period and despite the, at times, surreal circumstances we found ourselves in. We have achieved what we set out and we have thrived in spite of the obstacles — maybe even because of them. This is all thanks to my amazing team, so to each and every one of you I would like to say Thank You. We thrive, because of you.

Diana Aganey: Managing Editor

Another unprecedented year. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we should ride the vicissitudes of fortune with courage and a little faith.

I am, as always, thankful for my team at SOUK and their cheerful disposition, their commitment, and their friendship. But I am equally grateful to our writers, new and returning ones. This year, we have grown our readership twofold because of the great pool of talent contributing to our Youth Voice platform. Thanks to you, the infinite power of words and ideas stays alive.

Happy Holidays!

Lucie Spicer: Head of Educational Technology

I am thankful for Shout Out UK’s expansion across the UK. We have expanded teaching key Media Literacy skills to North Yorkshire and Oldham to help fight against far-right extremism. The response has been fantastic, and that has helped expand our efforts to the London boroughs of Southwark, Hammersmith, and Fulham.

On the tone of being thankful for our expansion of work outside of London, a shout out has to go to the University of Leicester team and the Cartooning for Peace team in France. We are working together to help young people across the UK analyse the pandemic through political cartoons.

I am also extremely thankful for the ability to offer support in the aftermath of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa. We created a consent course and have already delivered it to students in London. The hope is to continue to teach these consent courses all across the UK.

A big shout out to Reclaim These Streets who have been a great support network in the education creation and have come along to discuss their activism work with students at Barnet and Southgate College.

As always, with a word limit, it is hard to thank everyone who has helped spread the message of Political and Media Literacy. My other shout out has to go to POMOC and our work on the adult Political and Media Literacy course. And also YANI, whom we collaborated with and had a great seminar on the importance of political literacy with youth work.

Happy Christmas to everyone from SOUK!

DISCLAIMER: The articles on our website are not endorsed by, or the opinions of Shout Out UK (SOUK), but exclusively the views of the author.