Sunderland’s teenagers speak out at Young People’s State of the City Debate

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Young people from Wearside gathered in the city to discuss the issues they care about most.

The annual Young People’s State of the City Debate was held in the Civic Centre’s Council Chamber, bringing together children and youths.

More than 6,000 voted to decide what issues should appear on the agenda.

Children from every school and youth organisation in the city were invited to attend the event, which was organised by Sunderland Youth Parliament.

This year the items on the agenda were The Living Wage, a curriculum to prepare young people for life, mental health, transport and tackling racism.

Delegates were welcomed to the council offices by Coun Pat Smith, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services. She said: “Last year we had more than 100 young people from across the city attend this annual event in the council chambers.

“The debate saw discussions on a number of issues with the main priority identified as a ‘curriculum for life.’ Sunderland Youth Parliament has been working on this for the last nine months to prepare a report for this event.

“This meeting provided young people with the opportunity to find out how the concerns raised last year are being addressed, and decide which issue they would like to see scrutinised through the new term of the Sunderland Youth Parliament. We want to show young people that they can influence political debate in our city, and help shape council policy to provide the type of services they want to see provided to meet their needs.”

Members of Sunderland’s Youth Parliament meet every week to provide young people, aged 11-18, with the chance to debate issues affecting their lives.

Their views are also represented at the UK Youth Parliament.