Launching today Bebo's Big Think is an opportunity for young people across the UK to say what they want for the future, for themselves, for their communities and for the country.
The idea emerged in a collaboration between AOL-owned Bebo - which is strengthening its efforts to champion the interests and wellbeing of its 9 million plus UK users and LIVE Futures, a pioneering non-profit social enterprise that gives young people the skills and resources they need to create their own media, including London's biggest and best 'by youth for youth' magazine, LIVE.
Sam Conniff, co-founder of LIVE Futures said: "Bebo's objectives of empowering their young members to collectively voice their opinions, wishes and concerns chimes perfectly with LIVE's ethos of giving young people their own communications platforms - nobody knows what interests and engages young people better than young people themselves. Bebo's Big Think is young Britain's chance to say what they want for their future, and just as importantly, it's an opportunity for the government to listen to them".
In fact, in late July, five young people whose questions and ideas really strike a cord and represent the feelings of their peers will get to put them to the Prime Minister directly alongside 10 other young reporters, campaigners, entrepreneurs, apprentices and ambassadors at 10 Downing Street in a discussion hosted by T4's Rick Edwards to be broadcast on Bebo and elsewhere at a later date.
The timing of Bebo's Big Think coincides with the government's own initiative to get the public involved in 'Building Britain's Future'. This presents a real opportunity to have the Government listen to the themes, ideas and questions that are raised in this debate and for Bebo's young members to influence future planning and policy.
Gordon Brown said: "Building Britain's Future is the start of a process to engage with people on the big issues facing our country today. Bebo's Big Think is a great concept and I am really looking forward to hearing what people have to say."
Sarah Gavin, VP Communications, AOL commented: "We want Britain's youth to step forward and share their views on how we can craft a better, fairer future for all. It's an opportunity for them to not only listen to their peers, but also be in with a chance to put their thoughts in front of some of the country's leading politicians and policy-makers. We're thrilled Gordon Brown has agreed to take part and urge teenagers out there to take advantage of the chance to give the PM some personal political pointers!"
Rick Edwards added: "The value of this is pretty clear. If we're trying to build a better Britain for the future, then the people whose opinions really count, but aren't often heard, are the young people who are going to be growing up and living in that same future.
Choices made now will have a profound effect upon them. So having Gordon Brown's ear will be a fantastic chance for these young people to shape some of the government's thinking. On a personal level I'm also hoping to get a photo with Mister Brown. I say 'Mister Brown' - hopefully by then we'll be on first name terms. Swapping numbers, that sort of thing."