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!
On 4 November 2011, Members of the UK Youth Parliament (known as MYPs) sat in the House of Commons and voted on which of five issues ought to become the priority campaign for the UK Youth Parliament in the coming year.
The Youth MPs attending from West Sussex were:
- Liam Dallamore – Ifield Community College, Crawley.
- Lola Cole – Steyning Grammar School.
- Dominic Stannard – Worthing College.
- Samuel Theodoridi – St Philip Howard Catholic School.
As part of our ongoing development for the West Sussex County Council website for young people Yourspace we are encouraging young people to blog about their experiences. Read here for Samuel Theodoridis’ views of the day.
Courtesy of violet yume
On Friday 4th November 2 young people from the West Sussex Youth cabinet participated in the Children and Young Peoples’ select committee. They were invited to talk about the proposed reductions in Youth Services and the impact on young people. As can be seen from the webcast I think that they contributed well to the debate, highlighting key points about targetting services, access to facilities and transport and the need to invest in young volunteers – who may not come from targeted communities.
West Sussex Youth and Development Service have been tasked with reducing its services by a further £2m by March 2012. This is on top of the reductions made last year. As I noted in my last post, we are just starting to get service delivery in shape having made the reductions last year so making more in the near future will be a real stretch. This appears to have been recognised and an alternative proposal has been submitted in the Select Committee papers to look at phasing the reductions over 2 years.
The Cabinet Member for Childrens Services, Peter Evans, is now considering the feedback and recommendations from the Committee who supported the phasing option as this will give the YSDS a better chance of engaging with communities and the voluntary sector to ensure better outcomes for young people. We hope to have the Cabinet Members decision in the next few weeks.
I’ve posted before about the development of Academies and thought I would give an update on how things are progressing. The youth council from the area concerned wrote to Cabinet Members, District and Parish Councillors, youth officers and also their local MP, Tim Loughton to organise a meeting to express their concerns about the lack of planning and potential loss of ‘their’ youth wing. This took place this week and was a real compliment to both them and the staff working with them. They had a number of questions and queries for the invitees which they presented really positively.
Photo courtesy of Colbwt
As mentioned previously, the Academies programme does not allow for capital build of non-educational buildings. This means that there isn’t any funding available for a new youth wing (the old one will be knocked down to make space for the rebuild.) It is the first foray into Academies for both Woodards, the Charitable Trust we are working in partnership with and who will be taking on the running of the Academy, and ourselves. At the moment Cabinet Members have been in touch with Ed Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to raise the issue with a specific concern about the lack of joined up policy. I think the young people are now looking to write to him directly as well and Tim will also be scheduling some questions.
Locally we’re also looking at how we might define ‘Education’ in its broadest sense so that we can include informal education as a potential solution. We also discussed other possible sites with the group although everyone agreed that the school location is the best place in this situation. (more…)
….of creating a virtual space for all our Youth Forums to convene, discuss and interact!
I probably need to explain this a bit more. With the introduction of the Youth Opportunity & Capital Funds we had various discussions with young people and amongst ourselves as to how to distribute the money and really make sure that it was for and by young people. The message was very simply keep it local. We / they created a County Wide Youth Opportunity Forum (YOF) to support groups with a county wide remit (and to act as a bit of a steering group) and 24 Locality Youth Forums (LYFs!) which reflected the 24 localities across the County.
It wasn’t an easy task however it has been fantastic getting the money out to the different areas and has really enabled young people to decide where and how to spend the money they have been allocated and see the end results of their decision making.
Now our challenge is (more…)