Young people given chance to vote on issues that matter

Much was said about how young people became engaged in June’s general election - now they can vote to support issues that matter to them.

the three members of the youth parliament

Make Your Mark is a national ballot running until 30 September in which people aged 11 to 18 across the country can vote on the issues that matter most to them. North Yorkshire’s Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are urging young people across the county to take part.

Last year, almost one million young people voted nationally. This year, North Yorkshire MYPs want at least 15,000 young people from the county to vote and are urging all schools, colleges and youth organisations to get involved.

North Yorkshire has three MYPs, who were elected earlier this year by the North Yorkshire Youth Voice Executive and who sit on the UK Youth Parliament. They are Kitty Jackson, who lives in the Scarborough area and represents the east of the county, around Malton and Scarborough; Eden Shackleton, from the Ripon area, who represents the west, around Harrogate and Skipton; and Evie Stevenson, who is from the Selby area and represents the central area, around Northallerton, Richmond and Selby.

They say: “Young people are getting involved in politics, which is a good thing. Make Your Mark enables young people to have their voices heard about issues that we will then debate in the House of Commons.

“Yorkshire and Humber is the only region in the country where the Make Your Mark vote is increasing, and this year we want to achieve the most votes ever from North Yorkshire. We’re confident we can do that, but we need all secondary schools, colleges and youth organisations to take part. We’ll be visiting a number of these in September to promote the campaign.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills, added: “North Yorkshire’s youth parliamentarians play an important role in representing the concerns of young people in North Yorkshire on the national stage. Everyone in the county aged between 11 and 18 can help them do that by taking part in this ballot to make sure the issues of most concern are debated as part of the campaign.”

Young people will be able to vote on ten topics selected by MYPs from the Youth Parliament’s manifesto. The five most popular will be discussed by MYPs in their November debate at the House of Commons, chaired by the Speaker, John Bercow MP, and broadcast live on BBC Parliament. Two topics will be chosen as the focus of the Youth Parliament’s national campaigns in 2018.

Voting will take place through ballot papers issued in schools, colleges and youth centres. To get involved, contact Kevin Jeffrey, participation manager, at kevin.jeffrey@northyorks.gov.uk. More information is also available at www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark.

The ten issues for which young people can vote in the Make Your Mark ballot are:

A curriculum to prepare us for life. Schools should cover topics like finance, sex and relationship education and politics.

Votes at 16. Give 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote in all elections/referendums.

Protect LGBT+ people. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender+ young people deserve to be treated the same as everyone else; discrimination needs to be challenged.

Support for young carers. Government should increase funding to support young carers. Schools and youth organisations should work together better to support them.

Transport. Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all.

First aid education for all young people. All young people should learn basic first aid, on a regular basis, including CPR, and all schools in the UK should have a defibrillator.

Mental health. Services should be improved with young people’s help.

Make the invisible visible. Not all debilitating illnesses and conditions are visible, e.g. epilepsy, autism and diabetes can be isolating. Young people should work together to raise awareness.

Protect schools budgets from damaging cuts. Government should reverse the proposed cuts to schools so that each young person has an equal chance to succeed.

Work experience hubs for 11-18-year-olds. Knowing where to find work experience can be challenging. Government should create an online space to help young people with this.

This story was published 15 August 2017