Blogging for and about Youth Work and Young People

Posts tagged ‘youth participation’

Election Fever!

March is election month for young people here in West Sussex! 

Voting is taking place to elect young people to the West Sussex Youth Cabinet, the UK Youth Parliment and also to some of our local Youth Councils. 

With voting now open the new Voice & Engagement Team are busy supporting colleagues across the county to enable young people to have their say. Over 60 schools, colleges, youth centres and the youth offending service are all signed up and over 40,000 ballot papers already pre ordered.

What is the West Sussex Youth Cabinet?

The West Sussex Youth Cabinet is a group of 48 young representatives and the 4 UK Youth Parliament representatives, who are democratically elected by young people from all around West Sussex.people from across the county. The Youth Cabinet represents the views of the young people in their areas at county level. Young people attend monthly Youth Cabinet meetings around the county. collect and disseminate the views of their constituents and get involved with a variety of projects promoting young peoples views and solutions. They also liaise and get closely involved with the WSCC Cabinet and meetings with elected members.

Young People have been learning about the Youth Cabinet and preparing election manifestos a range of which can be seen here.

What is the UK Youth Parliment?

The UK Youth Parliament has over 600 representatives (369 seats for elected MYPs (Members of Youth Parliament) and over 230 Deputy MYPs, all aged 11-18.

MYPs are usually elected in annual youth elections throughout the UK. Any young person aged 11-18 can stand or vote. In the past two years one million young people have voted in UK Youth Parliament elections.

Once elected MYPs organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision makers on the issues which matter most to young people. All MYPs have the opportunity to meet once a year at the UK Youth Parliament Annual Sitting.

Here in West Sussex young people are voting for 2 MYPs and 2 Deputy MYPs. Have a look at some of their manifestos here

We are anticipating that this will be one of the biggest democratic youth participation events across West Sussex this year and will keep you updated on progress!

National policy, academies and other thoughts.

Wow! My comment on Hazel Blears blog was acutally read and responded to….how’s that for the power of blogging and social media! Some new Community Power Packs have been launched to support discussion and consultation on the White Paper which could be useful for supporting you to get young people’s views and thoughts and their involvement in the political process (you may need to adapt them to work with young people as the couple I have read so far tend to brush over young people’s specific involvement.)

Taking about ‘political education’ – one aspect of this or participation or empowerment work that we are currently supporting young people with also leads to me wonder how much consideration is given to joining up policies? Whilst there is a welcome (ish) support for the academies programme in funding new schools the issue is that it is purely about funding new school facilities. In a county where we have a large amount of community provision on school sites this provision is now under threat as the academies programme does not allow for the rebuild of this type of provision. Some of my youth work colleagues are now working in very difficult circumstances to support young people to protest at the potential loss of their ‘youth centre’ due to this programme,whilst protesting locally and empowering the young people to be involved in local district and county council meetings, and using this as a way of teaching them about budgets and how decisions are made about funding programmes at a national level, the young people are working hard together to try and ensure that their view is myplaceheard and that they can be a part of the solution.  For the staff it is difficult as the local authority supports the rebuild (as it understandably ensures some much needed new formal educational faciltities in some areas of high need) and yet there are no funds for any rebuilding of youth provision and they are having to juggle young peoples’ expectations through a period of uncertainty.

Isn’t it ironic that this is happening against the backdrop of Myplace which is aims to deliver world class youth facilities driven by the active participation of young people and their view and needs?!? Whilst the young people in this locality would welcome world class youth facilities they would prefer it even more at the moment not to lose the ones they have just because there is a lack of joined up thinking at a national level!

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