Wiltshire representatives from the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) joined the debate on issues affecting young people at a national level this month.
Kirstie Stage (from Tisbury) Cecilia George (from Salisbury) and Matthew Jamieson (from Royal Wootton Bassett) travelled to Liverpool to join fellow Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPS) at the Youth Parliament Annual Sitting. They voted on topics for 2017 which will be debated in Parliament by the young people before they become the key issues for the year.
This year Wiltshire put forward two motions. Matthew Jameison promoted a debate on how young people should be educated on digital security to ensure they are both secure online as well as offline. Cecilia George supported a motion for subsidised gym memberships for 16 – 18 year olds.
Their motions were debated alongside 18 others and although they weren’t successful they are looking forward to being part of the annual debate in the House of Commons chamber in November.
Cecilia said: “It’s so nice to meet like-minded young individuals who care so much about youth voice and politics.”
Matthew added: “It was great to be able to present my ideas on how to help young people. Annual sitting is not only a great way to progress as an individual but also a great platform to represent young people from Wiltshire and the UK.”
Members of Youth Parliament aged 11-18 take part in the annual debate in the House of Commons chamber, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt Hon John Bercow MP. They debate five issues chosen by a ballot of young people from across the UK and then vote to decide which two issues should become the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaigns for the year ahead.
Wiltshire Council runs local elections to the UK Youth Parliament and support its MYPs throughout their term of office. MYPs sit in the Wiltshire Assembly of Youth and campaign on local and national issues identified by young people.
Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children said: “It is important young people have a voice and our three young people are doing their best to represent the youth of our county on the wider stage.
“We value the input from young people in our day to day decision making here at Wiltshire Council and this is taking those issues to be shared on a national level.
The UK Youth Parliament has more than 364 representatives (369 seats for elected Members of Youth Parliament), all aged 11-18.
MYPs are usually elected in annual youth elections 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.