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North Yorkshire members of the UK youth parliament are gearing up for a new season of campaigning after attending the recent annual parliamentary sitting.
Three 16-year-olds – Max Dalton from Richmond, Liam Cutler from Northallerton and Matt Christodoulou from Selby – travelled to Leeds as the county’s youth representatives where they joined 250 young people from across the UK to discuss future legislation and develop campaigns for positive change to young people’s lives.
Matt Christodoulou from Selby; Max Dalton, Richmond and Liam Cutler, Northallerton, outside the UK youth parliamentary sitting in Leeds
They also met with the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons as well as Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Children and Families and MP Natascha Engel, chair of the backbench business committee, to debate current issues affecting young people.
Campaigns currently being developed by the North Yorkshire Youth Council include more first aid training for young people; a young carers’ card – to raise awareness of the day to day difficulties they face; healthy eating and better access to affordable transport.
Already the pioneering “Ride Around for a Pound” scheme has been drawn up by North Yorkshire County Council in response to a petition organised by the Craven Youth Council.
Under the scheme, which will run for the entire month of August, participating bus operators across Craven will offer a flat fare to under 18s of a £1 to travel anywhere in Craven for that day.
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.
Max Dalton said: “Being a youth councillor is a really good way of making your voice heard. People think young people are not interested in politics, but those who attended the UK Youth Parliament were really passionate about the issues facing young people.”
Liam Cutler agreed. “This is one way in which young people really can make a difference”, he said.
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. 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.”