Young people across Cumbria are being encouraged to have their say by voting in the national Make Your Mark ballot, a campaign to encourage 11-18 year olds to vote on their top issues.
The Make Your Mark ballot lists 10 national issues and 10 local issues for young people to vote on, and the topics with the highest number of votes are debated at the Houses of Parliament by the UK Youth Parliament, a national forum of 300 young people.
Cumbria’s current Members of Youth Parliament (MYP’s) were elected in March 2020 by young people aged 11 – 18 across the county, with over 8,500 votes cast. Cumbria’s MYP’s are Aaron Kelly for Allerdale and Copeland from West Lakes Academy, 17yrs; Ellis Haywood for South Lakes and Barrow from St Bernards School, 13yrs and Ben Perris for Carlisle and Eden from Ullswater Community College, 16yrs.
The Deputy Members of Youth Parliament are Josh Gillson from Keswick School, 16yrs for Allerdale and Copeland; James Lennon from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, 15yrs for Carlisle and Eden; Rhiannon Kaye from Kirkbie Kendal School, 17yrs for South Lakes and Barrow.
This year’s national issues include better support for young people’s mental health, scrapping university tuition fees and lowering the voting age to 16. Local issues include improved access to work and training opportunities, more support for arts, leisure and culture services, and childhood obesity. A full list of all national and local topics is available to view via the voting pages of the Make Your Mark website: https://www.ukparliamentweek.org/en/make-your-mark
All young people aged 11 – 18 in Cumbria can cast their votes online. Voting is open now until the end of November. Last year, 89% of schools in the county took part and returned over 18,000 votes.
Cllr Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to have their say on the issues that matter to them.
“It’s so important to understand how representation works and to highlight the issues that matter to young people – they are our leaders of the future and engaging in the Mark Your Mark ballot is a fantastic way to learn about democracy.
“Well done to everyone taking part and good luck to our three fantastic Members of Youth Parliament who will be debating the top issues on behalf of young people in Cumbria.”