Young politicians from Sunderland travelled to Westminster to take part in a national debate.
Elected by the young people of the city to represent their views as Members of the UK Youth Parliament, Thomas Crawford, 17, from Hastings Hill, and Rachel Krajovska, 16, from Grangetown, travelled to London to join more than 300 of their colleagues at the House of Commons.
We can’t be ignored on decisions that will have a major impact on our livesThomas Crawford
This is the eighth consecutive year that young people have been invited into the chamber, to debate five issues decided by 978,216 votes in the annual, national ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot held in schools, youth organisations and colleges across the county.
The debate, (TODAY FRI 10 NOV) will decide which one should become the main campaign of the UK Youth Parliament for 2016/2017.
Five issues for national debate are; a curriculum to prepare young people for life, covering finance, sex and relationships and politics. tackling racism and religious discrimination, transport, votes at 16 and stopping cuts to the NHS.
The MYPs are the only other group ever invited to hold session in the Debating Chamber of the House of Commons and represent the views of young people from across England and Wales.
Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Counc Louise Farthing said: “I’m sure our Sunderland MYPs will do the young people of our city proud, and represent their views and interests on the national political stage to the best of their abilities.
“Young people need to have a political voice, and where better to have it heard than at Westminster.”
Thomas, a student at St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, said: “I’m excited to be getting the honour of sitting and possibly speaking from the green benches, I think it’s becoming more and more important that politicians listen and act on the views of young people – especially with an uncertain future.
“We can’t be ignored on decisions that will have a major impact on our lives.”
Fellow MYP, Rachel, a student at Durham Sixth Form Centre, added: “The fact we were provided with this opportunity highlights how key it is to move forward in the progress of making sure young people have their voices listened to. I’m just grateful to be in this position.”
Both of Sunderland’s MYPs are also members of the Sunderland Youth Parliament which meets every Wednesday at Sunderland Civic Centre and is open for any young person (11-18) to attend.
For more information on how to get involved with the Sunderland and UK Youth Parliament contact Sunderland City Council’s Children’s Service’s Participation and Engagement Lead, Jane Wheeler, at firstname.lastname@example.org.