Thousands expected to have their say in Sunderland Youth Council vote
Young people in Sunderland have a chance to vote on what matters most to them.
Sunderland Youth Council (SYC) wants youngsters across the city to have their say in the annual Make Your Mark ballot. Voting is open to anyone aged 11 to 18 and runs until October 7.
It's the UK's largest consultation of young people. The ballot, run by the British Youth Council, allows young people to influence what will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons.
Last year 5,685 votes were cast in Sunderland and a record-breaking 1.1million nationwide, for youth to have its say on the topics that matter most to them. Mental health topped the poll. Choices this year include hate crime, child poverty and the envirionment
The top five issues in the ballot box will be debated by th Youth Parliament in the Commons in November. Representatives from SYC will attend. Previously the debate has been chaired by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
Member of Youth Parliament, Chloe Donkin, said: “Along with the rest of Sunderland Youth Council, we're aiming for around 10,000 votes this year.
"This is such a great opportunity for young people to have a say on the things that matter.”
Eight youngsters sit on SYC, which gives a voice to children and teenagers. The group works with Together for Children to help shape services; regularly meeting with staff, Sunderland councillors and MPs.
Sue Carty, director of corporate and commercial at Together for Children, said: “Make Your Mark is a great opportunity for all young people in the city to have a say on what matters to them.
"For many of them, this may be the first time they have taken up the opportunity to engage with the world of politics and hopefully this initiative will help develop an interest that will last a lifetime.”
Deborah Jenkins, chair of Together for Children, added: “I encourage all young people in the city take up the opportunity to vote and I’m sure that Sunderland Youth Parliament members will do a tremendous job representing our city in the House of Commons.”
Voting can be done online and schools across Sunderland will shortly receive ballot papers. Visit www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark/local-authority.