More than 10,400 votes have been cast by young people across Sunderland in the annual Mark Your Mark ballot.
The Make Your Mark vote, which ran from mid-August to 7 October, is the largest consultation of young people in the country. It is open to anyone aged between 11 and 18, the ballot is run by the British Youth Council with support from Local Authorities, schools, Parliament, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Last year saw 5,685 votes in Sunderland. This year more than 825,903 votes have been cast nationally.
The top five national votes will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons on 8 November.
Chloe Donkin, and Isabella Johnston from Sunderland Youth Council (SYC) will represent Sunderland at the House of Commons.
SYC is a group of eight young people aged 11 to 18, works to give a voice to children and teenagers in Sunderland. The group works with Together for Children to help shape services, regularly meeting with staff as well as Sunderland’s councillors and MPs.
On 29 November the top five issues in Sunderland will be debated in the Council Chamber where pupils from each school in Sunderland will be invited to discuss the issues.
The top five are:
- Environment (2,835)
- Knife Crime (1,899)
- Mental Health (1,419)
- Tackling Hate Crime (1,011)
- Votes at age 16 (801)
The top three schools that participated this year were: St Anthony’s Catholic School (2,464), Kepier School (1,297) and Castle View Enterprise Academy (1,121).
To mark Sunderland's 70 years of twinning with Essen in Germany Chole and Isabella recently visited Essen. And a delegation from Essen, including its Lord Mayor Thomas Kufen, will visit the Sunderland State of the City Debate.
Chloe said: “To almost double the amount of votes this year is a great achievement. This is a great opportunity for young people to have a say on the things that matter to us and we thank everyone involved.”
Isabella said: “Our visit to Essen means we can speak to young people there about topics that matter to them and share ideas on ways to undertake things.”
For more information on Youth Parliament please visit www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk and for details of Sunderland Youth Council please go to www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/children-and-young-people/youthgroups