Sunderland Youth Council are encouraging youngsters across the city to have their say on the issues that matter to them by voting in the annual Make Your Mark ballot.
The Make Your Mark vote, which runs until October 7th, is the largest consultation of young people in the country and 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. It is a fantastic opportunity for young people across the UK to influence what is debated by members of Youth Parliament on the green benches of the House of Commons.
Last year saw 5,685 votes in Sunderland and a record breaking 1.1 million votes across the UK to have their say on the topics that matter most to them, with mental health being the top topic voted for.
This year Sunderland Youth Council (SYC), which is facilitated and supported by Together for Children, are aiming to get even more of their peers voting.
The top five issues in the ballot box will then be debated by the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons in November, an event which representatives from SYC will attend. In previous years, the debate has been chaired by John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons.
Member of Youth Parliament, Chloe Donkin, said: “Along with the rest of Sunderland Youth Council, we are aiming for around 10,000 votes this year. This is such a great opportunity for young people to have a say on the things that matter. Several schools are involved across the city as this is a phenomenal event to get involved with. It’s not too late, Make Your Mark voting is open until October so we’re calling on all young people to cast their vote and make their voice heard.”
SYC, 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.
Sue Carty, Director of Corporate and Commercial at Together for Children, said: “Make Your Mark is a great opportunity for all young people in the city to have a say on what matters to them. For many of them, this may be the first time they have taken up the opportunity to engage with the world of politics and hopefully this initiative will help develop an interest that will last a lifetime”.
Deborah Jenkins, Chair of Together for Children, added: “It is so important for our future that the younger generation have a political voice and express themselves on the subjects that matter most to them.
“I encourage all young people in the city take up the opportunity to vote and I’m sure that Sunderland Youth Parliament members will do a tremendous job representing our city in the House of Commons.”
This year’s Make Your Mark vote is the eleventh consecutive year that young people have been invited into the chamber, to debate issues voted on in the national ballot held in schools, youth organisations and colleges across the county.
Voting can be done online at the link below and schools across the city will also shortly be receiving ballot papers. http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark/local-authority/
For more information on Sunderland Youth Council and other young people’s groups in the city led by Together for Children visit https://www.togetherforchildren.org.uk/children-and-young-people/youthgroups