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Thousands filled in Youth Cabinet survey
YOUNG politicians in Worcestershire were overwhelmed at the response they received to help them choose their focus for next year’s manifesto.
More than 7,500 11 to 18-year-olds responded to the Make Your Mark survey by Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, as part of a nationwide consultation by the UK Youth Parliament.
Former Waseley Hills High School pupil and cabinet chairman, Tom Hill, said even though people under the age of 18 were not able to vote, the youth parliament was an important part of passing suggestions from young people on to decision-makers and other stakeholders.
“It was a fantastic turnout which shows young people wish to be involved in decisions,” he said.
“The members of the Worcestershire Youth Cabinet are hard-working and dedicated to representing the young people of Worcestershire, taking action as appropriate.
“This is my one year to make a difference and, by working together, we can make a difference and bring positive change.”
Fourteen per cent of Worcestershire’s youth population handed in ballot sheets, more than four times the amount last year, to vote on which issues they would like the group to make their focus after their next election in March next year. Some of the choices available were the providing of apprenticeships, euthanasia, votes for 16- and 17-year-olds, youth employment, a curriculum to prepare young people for a better life, and improving mental health services and education.
The three which came out on top, which will be part of the 2014 manifesto, are zero tolerance policies on bullying in schools to be written by students in consultations with teachers and professionals, the national minimum wage should be increased in line with the living wage, and each pupil should have the opportunity to participate in at least one week’s work experience in a field of their choice.
Cabinet member Lauren Millichip, aged 16, who is studying at King Edward VI College in Stourbridge, said she joined the Youth Cabinet because it was a fantastic opportunity for her and her community.
She said: “Everyone on the cabinet is so different to each other but it works. “We all contribute something and evidently our time is well spent because the results we have achieved are amazing.
“In our recent survey we were able to gain a clear view of the issues of Worcestershire’s youths, from which we are going to work on campaigns to try and resolve them.”
Youth voice development worker Kirsty Fraser said it was now the focus of the cabinet to share these results with as many adults and professionals as they could to get their voices heard before they start their campaigns.
For more information about the youth cabinet, visit worcestershire.gov. uk/cms/worcestershire-youth-cabinet.aspx.