North Yorkshire members of the UK youth parliament are gearing up for a new season of campaigning after attending the recent annual parliamentary sitting.
Eighteen-year-old Max Dalton from Richmond, Liam Cutler, 17, from Northallerton and Matt Christodoulou, 18, from Selby, travelled as the county’s youth representatives to Nottingham where they joined 600 others from across the UK to develop campaigns for positive change to young people’s lives.
The main focus of the event was to update the UK youth parliament manifesto and set out campaigns for the coming year. Hot topics include transport, youth service cuts and the need for work experience. North Yorkshire’s pioneering Ride-Around-for-£1-scheme, created by the county council in response to a youth council petition, was discussed at the parliament as a way forward. This scheme has been such a success that it has been extended this year, allowing £1 bus travel in Craven, Hambleton, and Richmondshire
The annual event was opened by John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, and by Peter Tatchell, the human rights campaigner. The keynote speech was given by Tim Loughton MP, Minister for Children and Families, who discussed the work being done by his department to support young people.
Topics chosen by the UK youth parliament for the manifesto will then be voted on by youth councillors nationally. Last year, 65,000 young people voted in these elections, which set the agenda for further debates in the House of Commons in November.
Up to 200 young people currently make up the membership of North Yorkshire’s 16 local youth councils and a push to recruit new members will begin in September.
Matt Christodoulou said the UK Youth Parliament provided young people from across the country with the opportunity to stand for their constituencies and to make a difference: “I’ve had the opportunity of meeting passionate young people, voting on big issues, and learning new skills that I can use when campaigning in my local area.
County councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Youth Services said the county’s youth councillors are great ambassadors:
These young people really do make a difference to the communities in which they live. The Ride-Around-for-a-£1 scheme is a great example of what can be achieved. Youth councils are an effective vehicle for bringing about positive change and for developing future leaders. They do great work in North Yorkshire and we should be proud of them.
To find out more about Youth Councils in North Yorkshire contact James Parkes, Youth Council Coordinator on 01609 533932 or visit www.nyyc.co.uk