Sunderland Youth Parliament 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 6th, is the largest consultation of young people in the country and is open to anyone aged between 11 and 18.
Last year saw 8,002 young people (30% of those eligible) vote in Sunderland and almost 980,000 nationally take to the polls to have their say on the topics that matter most to them.
This year Sunderland Youth Parliament (SYP) are aiming to get 10,000 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 SYP will attend.
Thomas Crawford, 18, from Hastings Hill and chair of SYP, said: “Sunderland’s young people need to be heard, and that’s why it’s essential that the UK’s largest youth consultation is promoted. Just shy of 1 million young people voted nationwide last year, the youth voice of Wearside needs to be part of that and heard on a local and national level.”
Rachel Krajovska, 17, from Grangetown, added: “I’m so excited and determined to reach Sunderland’s goal of 10,000 votes. This is such an important time for young people to voice their views and really express their thoughts through the elections. Let’s go!”
SYP, a group of 22 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 Quality and Performance at Together for Children, said: “Through Make Your Mark all young people in the city can have a say on what matters to them. For many of them, this might be the first time they have taken up the opportunity to engage with the world of politics and hopefully this will spark an interest that lasts a lifetime.”
Councillor Louise Farthing, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, added: “It is so important for our future that today’s younger generation have a political voice and feel free to express themselves on the issues that matter most to them.
“I hope all young people in the city take up the opportunity to vote and I’m sure that Sunderland Youth Parliament members will do a fantastic job representing our city in the House of Commons come November.”
This year’s Make Your Mark vote is the ninth 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 Parliament and other young people’s groups in the city led by Together for Children visit https://togetherforchildren.org.uk/children-and-young-people/sunderland-youth-groups