Future Voices: Young people in Norfolk reveal their top five priorities
- Credit: PA
19,338 young people in Norfolk cast their votes in the national Make Your Mark ballot to find out the most important issues affecting them. Young people could vote for one issue that they felt affected them most from a list of 10.
Norfolk achieved the most votes in the East and South East regions for the number of votes collected and the county is in the top five in the UK, which is very impressive. The top five issues voted for by young people in Norfolk were:
• Everyone should be paid at least the living wage of £7.56 an hour (3,152 votes)
• Work experience – 'we should have the chance to do a week's placement (2,873 votes)
• Bring back exam re-sits in maths and English (2,685 votes)
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• Mental health services should be improved with our help (2,169 votes)
?• A curriculum to prepare us for life (2,064 votes)
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Four of Norfolk's Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) – Thomas Bailey, Chloe Hunt, Jacob Rhodes and Chelsie Brociek - travelled to Westminster along with other MYPs from across the UK on November 14 to debate the top five national issues. They debated in a special House of Commons sitting chaired by the speaker, John Bercow MP. The young people voted for 'Mental health service should be improved with our help' to became the national campaign for UK Youth Parliament.
Thomas (MYP for North West Norfolk), 17, of King's Lynn, said: 'It's brilliant that so many young people voted in Make Your Mark. It's great to see democracy in action and it was great to debate the top issues in the House of Commons.'
Norfolk County Council co-ordinates the work of Norfolk's MYPs who spend two years in their role, attend monthly meetings and debate issues affecting young people with other MYPs from across the Eastern region.
James Joyce, Chairman of the NCC's Children's Services Committee, said: 'This is a staggering achievement for Norfolk's young people.
'Our young people perform an invaluable role in our democratic process. They speak up for their peers and the communities in which they live, but also the county as a whole. The Make Your Mark ballot is a great opportunity for them to let us know what are the most pressing issues, and for us the chance to really listen to what they have to say.
'It's great that the House of Commons debate will give them a valuable opportunity to highlight their views on a national stage normally reserved for sitting MPs.'
Emily Fox, 15, Mid Norfolk