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MPs and MYPs working together

Members of Youth Parliament meet local MPs to organise first Celebrating Diversity in Gloucestershire conference

23 February 2016

Three members of the Youth Parliament met their parliamentary counterparts to discuss a proposal to organise the first Celebrating Diversity in Gloucestershire Conference. The MYPs, Alysha Bodman, Esther Mounce and Nathan Sexton proposed the event as part of the wider UKYP National Campaign 2016: Don’t Hate Educate. This campaign aims to reduce racism and religious discrimination in our communities.

Three Gloucestershire MPs, Richard Graham (Gloucester), Neil Carmichael (Stroud) and Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds) attended the meeting and threw their support behind the campaign.

The conference is planned to take place at Shire Hall in early July. The MYPs, who will be organising the conference with support from Gloucestershire YST, will work closely with the MPs and their offices to make this first conference a huge success. The MPs, who aim to be there, will be using their influence to ensure the conference has a great mix of speakers including senior members of religious groups, charities, thought leaders and young constituents prepared to tell their stories of how they have faced discrimination.

By addressing racism and religious discrimination the conference will address radicalisation in the county. Everyone can play their part in making Gloucestershire a safe, diverse and positive place to live and this is one of the key messages of the conference.

It is hoped more than 150 young people will attend the conference with the MPs and MYPs working together to encourage schools and colleges to send their student leadership teams, including members of their schools councils, heads of houses and student mentors to the conference.

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester commented: “It was very good to discuss with Gloucestershire's MYPs their proposals for a discussion on combating racism and extremism – both key to the success of multi-cultural Gloucester.”

Alysha Bodman agreed that meeting the MPs was helpful: “It was a pleasure to meet with three of the Gloucestershire MPs to discuss our upcoming tackling Racism and Religious discrimination campaign. It was reassuring to know that they care about the voices of young people and the issues which affect them. They provided us with some invaluable ideas regarding the event and we hope to maintain their involvement in the event in order to make the campaign more successful!”

Nathan Sexton MYP agreed the discussions was very useful. "It was brilliant to meet with the MPs, discussing politics such as the EU referendum, and also our own campaign. They were incredibly helpful in providing information that could help us in our upcoming campaign." Nathan has taken the campaign further, meeting with Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham separately, who commented: “Racial and religious discrimination have no place in a decent society. I am delighted that Members of the Youth Parliament are making this important contribution to the struggle against prejudice.”

Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "The future is in the hands of our young people, so it is great to see some of this county’s MYPs engaging with their parliamentary peers on such a worthy campaign.

“Discrimination will not be tolerated in any form in Gloucestershire, and this campaign shows us the issues that really matter to our county's younger residents.

“I look forward to welcoming them all to Shire Hall in July.”
The three MYPs, Alysha Bodman, Esther Mounce and Nathan Sexton represent the districts of the Cotswolds, Stroud and Tewkesbury. They were selected in elections run by the Youth Support Team, provided by Prospects on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

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Notes to Editor

About Prospects
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and training services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we touch the lives of more than a million people through our extensive range of high quality services.

About the Gloucestershire Youth Support Team
Prospects has delivered targeted youth support on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council since 2008 and in April 2013, the contract was expanded and extended for another three years. The Youth Support Team works with approximately 6,000 vulnerable young people in Gloucestershire. The service targets specific groups of young people who are the most at risk of not making a successful transition into adulthood. The Gloucestershire Youth Support Team also delivers statutory services and operates across Gloucestershire through youth support centres, mobile centres, in schools and with families and young people in their homes. The multi-disciplinary team comprises youth workers, family support, health and careers specialists working with police and probation officers. Acting as an integrated team, they identify young people most at risk and intervene early to prevent issues and problems escalating. The partnership is the first of its kind in England and more than 90% of young people supported by the team say it has made a difference to their lives.

Last year, the success of the unique partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Prospects was recognised at a national level when they won the best Public/Private Partnership award at the national 2014 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) awards.

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Alona de Havilland
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