This week the young people of Leeds have been making their mark and having their say.
Yesterday, the results of the Leeds Children’s Mayor ballot were announced. Children from all over the city submitted manifestoes through their primary schools. Manifestoes had to be about how Leeds could become a more Child-Friendly city. Over 6000 children voted – and the ten finalists were at the Civic Hall yesterday to find out the results.
The new Children’s Mayor is Amy Eckworth-Jones from Strawberry Fields Primary School. Her manifesto called for social clubs or safe areas where kids could play and meet, run by the children themselves. Congratulations to Amy on her success.
And to all the finalists – they were a great bunch. Two were from Leeds NW – Rebecca Ashworth, from Cookridge Holy Trinity School and Freya Richardson from Rufford Park, Yeadon. Rufford Park school provided last year’s Children’s Mayor, Charlotte Williams. Rebecca’s manifesto was about Leeds as an Eco-friendly city – with a focus on traffic and litter. Freya called for an activity fair, run by and for children.
You can read all their manifestoes here. http://www.breezeleeds.org/pg/228/Leeds_Children’s_Mayor
The finalists were chosen by a panel of youth councillors, members of the youth parliament, child friendly Leeds junior advisors and the current children’s mayor.
And this week will see another important event for young people in our city.
On 14 November the UK Youth Parliament will take over the House of Commons. Their debate will be screened live on BBC Democracy Live.
The 5 topics for debate were determined by a ballot of young people – the national Make Your Mark Ballot – and a record number of them from Leeds took part in that this year.
Since September, young people from across the UK have been voting for their most important issue, which they want raising with the UK Youth Parliament. Voting took place both online and through ballot papers issues in schools and youth centres and any young person in the city aged 11-18 was encouraged to cast their vote and have their say.
Some of the topics for choice this year included
• Giving young people a greater voice in their communities
• A minimum living wage of £7.65/hour for everyone
• Bringing back exam re-sits in Maths and English
• Better work experience opportunities
• Young people being directly involved in making laws
In Leeds 18,261 young people completed the Make Your Mark Ballot.
That’s 29% of the population of 11 to 18 year olds in Leeds, and 13% more than last year’s turnout for Leeds. Across the UK this year, a record turnout of over 865,000 young people took part in the vote.
Young people in Leeds placed campaigning for young people to have the right to vote at 16 as their top issue. That will be the focus of the Leeds Members of Youth Parliament for the next 12 months.
Like the young people of Leeds, the Labour party want the right to vote at 16. The response of young people in Leeds shows just how seriously they would take that. They’re a real credit to our city.