Cumbria County Council is encouraging young people across the county to have their voices heard by casting a vote in the Make Your Mark 2017 ballot, and by becoming Make Your Mark Champions in their school or college to encourage more young people to take part.
Make Your Mark is led by the UK’s Youth Parliament and provides a unique opportunity for young people to have their say on the issues that matter to them. The ballot will decide the issues and topics that Members of the UK’s Youth Parliament will vote on during 2018. A debate to discuss and confirm the topics will take place in November 2017 in the House of Commons, chaired by Commons Speaker John Bercow MP. The aim is to get over one million young people’s voices from across the UK heard through Make Your Mark this year – last year over 978,000 votes were cast nationally, with 13,000 of those from Cumbria.
Make Your Mark Champions help organise the votes and are ambassadors for the UK Youth Parliament in their school or college. Any young person aged 11 – 18 can be a Make Your Mark Champion. We are looking for representatives from schools, colleges, youth groups and academies across Cumbria.
Training dates for Make Your Mark Champions are planned during the last week of August. The training will give students the skills and confidence to manage voting in their school, college or youth group, promote Youth Parliament campaigns, and enable hundreds of young people across Cumbria to have their voices heard. The Make Your Mark campaign runs throughout September and early October, with a celebration event held during or close to October half term.
Jacob Reid, Member of Youth Parliament for Carlisle and Eden, said: “It’s no secret that the concerns of Young People have gone unanswered for too long in this country – but this is changing; in recent years the national Make Your Mark ballot has been completed by millions of young people now they have a platform to raise their views and ideas.
“The Youth Parliament’s campaigns have enabled meaningful change to occur both locally and nationally on issues affecting young people – from tackling the stigma around mental health to increasing the accessibility of PSHE resources. Ultimately, the Make Your Mark ballot is a success because of the young people who participate in it – whether they champion it in schools or simply cast a vote. This is an opportunity for young people to have their say and I would strongly encourage all young people in Cumbria to get involved!”
Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said: “The UK Youth Parliament is a fantastic platform for young people’s views to be heard and debated. The views and interests of young people are extremely important and I’m delighted so many young people in Cumbria are keen to have their say on the issues that matter to them. I’d encourage all young people to get involved in the Make Your Mark campaign through their school, college or youth group and to cast a vote on the topics and ideas that affect them and their future – they are our leaders of tomorrow and this is a superb way to start understanding how voting, representation and democracy works in action.”
Following their training, the Make Your Mark Champions will volunteer alongside teachers and students in their school, academy or college to ensure as many young people as possible have their voices heard by voting in the ballot. They will be empowered to take charge of the Make Your Mark campaign and report the results from their institution to the UK Youth Parliament. There are several ways to encourage participation and collect results – including hosting a special assembly, class talks, holding a stall at break times, or an online forum.
For more information on Make Your Mark, visit http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark/