Downing Street respond to campaign run by young reporters

Young reporter Tom with the letter from Downing Street
Young reporter Tom with the letter from Downing Street

Downing Street has responded to a group of young reporters after they sent hundreds of questions to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about Covid-19.

The youngsters from Media Cubs led the successful Raise Your Hand campaign over the summer to encourage other primary school kids across the country to share their questions with the PM and other leaders after becoming frustrated that they had not been part of conversations that will shape their future post-pandemic.

As well as sending their questions, they held Q&As with Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, and the young people lobbied for a slot on the Daily Briefings with national news outlets willing to give up their places.

Downing Street did not respond to the request but the young reporters now have a written response to all of their questions.

The letter, which arrived on behalf of the Prime Minister, said: “I was very impressed with the remarkable questions the children have asked and fully understand the concerns they have about their future and how we are going to beat the pandemic.

“Since you wrote, children are back at school, the country is starting its recovery and there are plenty of measures in place to ensure we all remain safe as we go about our daily lives.

“Things remain far from normal and this can be unsettling for many people, but please rest assured that he [the Prime Minister] and the rest of the government are guided by the best medical and scientific advice, doing all they can to defeat COVID-19 once and for all.”

One of the campaign leaders, Tom, aged 11, (pictured), said: “I can’t believe they finally replied to us. It is great to know that our questions have been acknowledged and responded to on the Government website.

“But there are still so many questions that are unanswered and things we feel uncertain about. We put a lot of hard work into our campaign and the Prime Minister still has a lot of work to do.”

During the Raise Your Hand campaign, the mini reporters had 40 pieces of print or online news coverage for their campaign.

They made their TV debut on ITV and attended a virtual Q&A with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism local where the panel included Lord John Bird, founder and editor in chief of the Big Issue, correspondent at Sky News Inzamam Rashid and chair of the British Youth Council Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson.

Media Cubs leader, Kirsty Day, said: “At the very least the mini reporters deserved this response with all the effort and thought they put into the Raise Your Hand campaign.

“I hope it will make them even more confident to stand up for what they believe in and know that their ideas and opinions do matter.

“The Media Cubs who took part in this campaign have now moved on to secondary school and we can see campaign leaders of the future in all of them.”