Express & Star article by Local Democracy Reporter Joe Sweeney
Young people across Wolverhampton are being encouraged to have their say on two major youth campaigns taking place this year.
For the first time, many areas are combining the annual ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot consultation with Youth MP elections.
Make Your Mark is the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK, and will work alongside the Youth MP campaign to give young people the opportunity to air their views on what matters to them – whilst also electing the person they want to represent them locally.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The Make Your Mark ballot and the Youth MP campaign are both incredibly important initiatives for our young people to take part in, giving them the chancce to contribute their views on the issues that affect their everyday lives.
“The interest from young people in becoming a Youth MP has been incredible and shows their enthusiasm and commitment to want to stand up for what they believe in, make their voices heard and improve the lives of others.
“Previous results have been used to help shape our Youth Engagement Strategy and we are excited to see what issues young people in Wolverhampton want us to focus on to help improve their lives this time around.”
The Youth MP campaign has already been incredibly successful – with 30 young people putting their names forward to stand as Youth MPs in Wolverhampton want us to focus on to help improve their lives this time around.”
“All the entrants have shown an incredible passion and determination to speak up for and improve the lives of young people in the city,” added Councillor Momenabadi.
“Each candidate has submitted a powerful statement to support their campaign, detailing what issues matter the most to them – and these are available to view at our website here http://www.youthengagementstrategy.co.uk/.”
The Make Your Mark ballot gives young people aged 11-18 the chance to select one issue they care about the most.
This year, issues raised include the Covid-19 recovery, education and learning, the environment, health and wellbeing, jobs, money, homes and opportunities, rights and democracy, and poverty.
The issues that receive the most votes will be debated by the elected members of the UK Youth Parliament.
Both campaigns run simultaneously and launched this week, with voting open in secondary schools until Monday, February 28.
“Previously, over 10,000 young people in Wolverhampton took part in the Make Your Mark vote, showing their desire to make their voices heard on the issues they care the most about,” said Councillor Momenabadi.