It’s not every day you see young people engaging in friendly conversation with the police, but that’s what’s happening in Oulu. The eCopper chat room is an online, text-based service where young people can converse directly and anonymously with the police, while a youth worker moderates discussions. As many as 200 young people log in every Monday to report crimes and seek advice. Since 2009, this has helped improve links between the police and young people, and resolve prejudices that have in the past compromised this relationship..
Innovation: Youth election project U18, Berlin
Understanding politics can be daunting for young people. U18 helps to make it fun and accessible. Throughout the year, participants study manifestos, form parties and debate with politicians, culminating in a mock election which takes place a week ahead of the real election to the Berlin House of Representatives. Any organisation dealing with young people, from schools to youth centres, can register as a ‘polling station’, and benefit from online teaching resources. With a current lack of political education taking place in schools, the scheme helped reach 26,705 young people from diverse backgrounds in 2011, and is ever growing both in size and reputation.
Participation: Climate Alliance, Ghent
By engaging its politicians, citizens and businesses, Ghent hopes to become climate neutral by 2050. Stakeholders meet in a range of Climate Alliance working groups, from farming to arts and the classroom, with the outcomes helping to formulate Ghent’s transition to a greener future. Residents can use a dedicated website to sign a charter of commitment, calculate their climate impact and identify the insulation quality of their roofs using a thermographic map. A weekly ‘veggieday’ sees many locals forgo meat on a Thursday, while others benefit from free advice and subsidies to carry out eco-friendly home improvements.