The Youth Parliament offers young people aged 11-18 a chance to use their voice and make changes in their local areas. Members of the Youth Parliament take part in an annual debate in the House of Commons and represent young people across the UK.
In Gloucestershire, they recently held elections for three Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) and three deputy MYPs to cover Cotswolds and Stroud, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, and Gloucester and Forest of Dean. The MYP and Deputy MYPs met on 29 April for the first time since being elected. They worked on their debating skills and how best to represent all young people in their constituencies. They also decided that their main campaign for the year would be mental health awareness, as well as the national campaigns; Votes at 16 and curriculum for life.
The new MYPs are, Harriet Hards and Sophie Overton who are representing Tewkesbury and Cheltenham Sophie Said: “"I am thrilled to have been elected! I'm excited to be able to soon represent young voices in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury because it's something I'm extremely passionate and look forward to working with the other Young Members of Parliament! Thank you for electing me and I hope to help make a difference in our local constituency and represent.
Hanna Doherty and George Richmond for the Cotswolds and Stroud, George said: “A time to be visible has come. I am pleased to be voted in as the Deputy Member of the Youth Parliament for the Cotswolds and Stroud. This win was however not down to be me, but to all the young people who voted for me and who face many issues which go frequently unheard. The real victory has yet to come, the real victory will be seeing and pursuing change for young people across Gloucestershire and making young people visible.
From now on I hope to work with all young people across the constituency to take their issues seriously, to campaign vigorously for them and to make them visible.”
Councillor Richard Boyles, cabinet member for children and young people at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "Our MYPs do fantastic work in the county and it is really important that the voices of young people are heard loud and clear.
“The future is in the hands of our young people, so it is great to see this county’s MYPs representing Gloucestershire on a national stage.”
The MYP elections were supported by Gloucestershire Youth Support Team, provided by Prospects the education, employment, training skills and care company on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council. The Youth Support Team works with around 6,000 young people in the county, they support those with disabilities, young offenders, care leavers and young parents. They provide help and support for those who are unemployed, information on education, emotional health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness as well as many more issues that young people may face. Prospects provides the contract in six districts of the county.