It seems like barely a day goes by these days without a news story about bad things done by young people, so it’s refreshing to hear a good news story from time to time and when we received an invitation to go to Grimsby Town Hall to meet the candidates for the role of our area’s representative in the UK Youth Parliament and their deputies we jumped at the chance.
The UK Youth Parliament has more than 360 members, elected in annually throughout the UK. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote. In the past two years one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.
Once elected MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs have the opportunity to meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting where members come together to take part in workshops, debate, create and change national manifesto policy, and network. It takes place on a university campus over three days. The event includes keynote speeches from political figures, followed by question and answer sessions.
In our area there are three teams, each made up of a candidate and a deputy, standing for election and they’ll be voted on by students at local schools and colleges. Our picture shows the candidates and deputies on the Town Hall staircase.
Each team has a set of issues on which they are campaigning including the incorporation of Curriculum For Life, (which involves life skills, finance and politics) into the schools’ syllabus, access to reasonably priced transport for young people, and issues related to body image.
According to Pippa Curtin, Voice and Influence Practitioner at the NELC Young People’s Support Service, “The UK Youth Parliament has been enabling young people to have their voices heard at a national level since 2000. It is an amazing opportunity for young people to engage in politics and democracy, whether they are standing to be elected or voting for the team they would like to represent young people. The team elected will start their 2 year term in March 2017 and will have the opportunity to represent young people from North East Lincolnshire through regional conventions an annual sitting an annual ballot on issues important to young people and debates held in the House of Commons every year.”
Regardless of which team wins the election we’d like to wish them all the best for the future and we’ve no doubt that, one way or another, they’re all headed for success. If you’d like to find out more about the United Kingdom Youth Parliament in North East Lincolnshire contact Pippa Curtin at firstname.lastname@example.org