Young apathy? It’s not here, says hustings crowd

Young people listening to the Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue, where they could qu

Young people listening to the Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue, where they could quiz parliamentary candidates. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Time and again the apathy of young people has been lamented in the run-up to election day.

Young people listening to the Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue, where they could qu

Young people listening to the Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue, where they could quiz parliamentary candidates. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

But this conventional wisdom was dispelled last night as more than 100 young people queued outside a hustings for their chance to grill those aspiring to be our MPs.

At the lively question time – The Big Election Debate – at the Open venue in Norwich, candidates from the five main parties were grilled on questions ranging from funding to mental-health services in the NHS.

Local charities MAP, YMCA, Break, the Benjamin Foundation and Open invited anyone between the ages of 16 and 23 to voice their concerns.

Danielle Peers Holland, a 16-year-old student from Downham Market, said she would love to be able to vote and wanted to see the law changed.

The Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue for young people to quiz parliamentary candida

The Big Election Debate event at the Open Youth Venue for young people to quiz parliamentary candidates. From left, UKIP's candidate for North West Norfolk, Toby Coke; the Green Party's candidate for Norwich South, Lesley Grahame; Lib Dem candidate for North Norfolk and health minister Norman Lamb; Conservative candidate for Norwich North, Chloe Smith; and Labour candidate for Norwich South, Clive Lewis. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015


You may also want to watch:


She said it was unfair to say young people were not interested in politics. 'I am in a group at school who are interested in politics, but I'd say the majority of young people are interested.'

She turned up to put a question to the five-strong panel about young carers.

Most Read

Thorpe High School student Mark Woodrow, 18, said tuition fees, help to buy and the economy in general were the issues concerning him. 'I don't want to be lumbered with this generation's financial worries.'

He said that while he was leaning towards the Conservatives, he had not completely made up his mind.

James Parry, also an 18-year-old first-time voter from Thorpe High School, who lives in Blofield, said the NHS was a concern as his parents were employed in the service.

He said that most of the young people he knew were engaged in the election and had strong ideas about politics, adding: 'More so than the media portray.'

Alex Woodhouse, an 18-year-old fine art student at the Norwich University of the Arts, said she had been watching a few debates and was part of a politics society at university.

She added that she was going to vote for the Green Party because she was concerned about austerity policies.

Meanwhile 19-year-old Anna Scott from Martham, who is studying for a diploma in literature, journalism and creative writing at Wensum Lodge, also planned to vote for the Green Party because its policies appealed to her as a student.

Amber Edwards, who is 20, and lives in Dereham, but works in Norwich, said that she had decided to go to the event because she was not particularly involved in politics, but realised how important it was for young people to be engaged.

'I want to be more clued up about what the parties are offering, particularly in Norfolk. We look at the big picture, but what about what the parties are going to do here.'

Do you have an election story? Email annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus