The Political Academy

Getting young people involved in British politics

The SHM Foundation established the Political Academy in 2010, in order to give young British people from a diverse range of backgrounds the chance to get more involved in politics. Through the Academy, we aimed to help nurture a new generation of active citizens and future leaders.


The Political Academy has a network of passionate young adults aged 16-25 years old from diverse communities across England who work on campaigns and initiatives to get young people more engaged in politics and democracy.


Since it was founded, the Academy has delivered a number of highly successful peer-to-peer campaigns around elections, reaching at least 10,000 young voters directly, face-to-face and online, and many more through local and national publicity.


In 2011, the Academy developed a campaign to inspire young voters to use their vote in the UK referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) on May 5th. The ‘What You Saying’ campaign was driven by members of the Political Academy in London, Leeds and Bradford. These young campaigners took on the challenge of talking to young voters aged 18-25 years about the referendum and the arguments for and against AV. Over a 2-month period, the young campaigners spread the word through a range of activities including debates in colleges, radio broadcasts, social networking, and street campaigning.


In 2012, the Academy devised another campaign for the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. The ‘Force Forward’ campaign targeted young voters in Avon & Somerset, Leicestershire and West Yorkshire in youth-led debates with the candidates for the elections in these areas.  As a result of this campaign, the Political Academy established the Youth Commission on Police and Crime, to enable young adults to work in partnership with the newly-elected Commissioners on strategies for crime and policing.


Going forward, the Political Academy aims to build on this work to trial and develop new models for engaging 16-25 year olds in politics – as voters, citizens and future leaders.


From 2015, the Political Academy is being taken forward by a new not-for-profit social enterprise called Leaders Unlocked. Leaders Unlocked specialises in engaging young people and under-served groups. To find out more about Leaders Unlocked and the progress of the Political Academy, please go to

Please click here if the page doesn’t load.

About us

The SHM Foundation works globally to bring about positive social change through projects in the areas of learning and citizenship, health and the arts.

The Foundation was set up in 2008 by Professor Maurice Biriotti and Professor Henrietta Moore, who co-founded the strategy and insight consultancy SHM Productions, based in central London, in 1996.

Contact us

Voila! Your message has been sent. We will get back with you soon.
Oops! We can't send your message.