IDEA launches Debate in the Neighbourhood UK

In spring 2012 IDEA London will be launching its most ambitious and wide-ranging UK debate education initiative to date: Debate in the Neighbourhood. The Debate in the Neighbourhood programme aims to bring the dynamism, excitement and unique learning opportunities offered by competitive debate into urban communities throughout the UK.

Starting in London, Debate in the Neighbourhood will grow into a comprehensive programme of public events, open debating workshops, training schemes and online resources designed to introduce debate to a completely new audience – inner city neighbourhoods.

Inspired in part by the Open Society Foundation’s Urban Debate Initiative, Debate in the Neighbourhood was first piloted by IDEA Amsterdam in 2007. Revised and updated for UK youth and community groups, schools and FE Colleges, Debate in the Neighbourhood 2012 is aiming to replicate the phenomenal success of the Urban Debate Initiative in a British setting.

Debate in the Neighbourhood aims to empower and engage young people to support and develop their communities- their neighbourhoods- through campaigning and public discourse. Too often young people are seen as sources of disruption and disaffection in urban communities. At best, they are ignored; at worst young adult members of urban communities are seen as a threat to be controlled by curfews and an ever-increasing police presence. Debate in the neighbourhood will challenge this image of young people, transforming them into sources of innovation and insight on the issues that matter most to them.

Debate in the Neighbourhood delivers high quality debate tuition to young people, assists schools and youth groups to set up debating clubs and host public debates, and will, over time create its own competitive framework. DiN will enable debate teams from colleges and school across the country to challenge each other in face-to-face and online debating tournaments. But debate training is only one part of the service that DiN delivers.

By teaching debate, and encouraging participants to develop their speaking and thinking skills within a competitive framework, DiN also provides urban communities’ young adults with the knowledge to act as advocates for their friends, neighbours and families. DiN directly challenges negative public perceptions of urban youth, by creating motivated, highly trained groups of young people who are capable of devising solutions to the problems that they identify in their communities. DiN debaters communicate their designs for the future of their neighbourhoods to the public, to local officials, political leaders, business owners in open debates. Debating allows DiN participants to enter in to dialog with the people best placed to fund and champion the changes that young people want to bring about.

Debate in the Neighbourhood UK is already working in partnership with the Prendergast School in south east London, City and Islington College, London Youth’s Career-ability programme and with some of the brightest and most successful young public speakers in the United Kingdom.

Youth workers, youth group leaders, debating society coaches and college-level principals can start their involvement in Debate in the Neighbourhood right away, by downloading our comprehensive training pack from The materials and information contained in this pack will enable service organisers and providers to train their staff- teachers, youth mentors, peer mentors or outreach workers- to train others in the basics of debate and public speaking. The training pack can be run over three days as a single course. Each day of the course consists of eight hours of lessons and exercises, and culminates with a series of formal debates that can be run in either a classroom or a public setting. The course is also flexible enough to be separated into individual modules that can be taught as individual lessons over a period of several weeks.

Schools, colleges, youth groups, LEAs, universities and debating societies who wish to contact IDEA to discuss training staff, students or young people using DiN resources should email Alexander Cavell or Marcin Zaleski at or

This education initiative

This education initiative is a really nice advocacy to train others in the basics of debate and public speaking

Syndicate content