The wait was over last week for 17 young hopefuls, who have spent the last few weeks campaigning to become one of three newly elected Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Cumbria.
With more than 8,500 votes cast, Cumbria’s new Members of Youth Parliament are:
Aaron Kelly for Allerdale and Copeland from West Lakes Academy, 17yrs
Ellis Haywood for South Lakes and Barrow from St Bernards School, 13yrs
Ben Perris for Carlisle and Eden from Ullswater Community College, 16yrs
The Deputy Members of Youth Parliament are Josh Gillson from Keswick School, 16yrs for Allerdale and Copeland; James Lennon from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, 15yrs for Carlisle and Eden; Rhiannon Kaye from Kirkbie Kendal School, 17yrs for South Lakes and Barrow.
Nominations took place in January 2020, with all potential candidates required to attend training activities, submit a manifesto, and prepare a campaign strategy. Campaigning took place in January, February and March in schools, academies and colleges across the county, with candidates delivering presentations in assemblies and taking part in hustings events. All of the candidates’ manifesto pledges and campaign materials were available to view via a secure website, where registered voters were able to cast their votes during March.
The overall total of votes registered exceeded expectations with 8,704 votes cast, an increase on the 5,500 votes cast in 2018.
Candidates chose issues close to their hearts to highlight the type of projects, campaigns and social action that they would like to deliver on behalf of young people in Cumbria. These included tackling climate change, environmental issues, mental health services for young people, equal opportunities and raising awareness of crime related issues in their areas.
The newly elected Members of Youth Parliament for Cumbria will now be the voice of young people across the county, and their representatives in each area’s Youth Councils when they attend UK Youth Parliament in November at the House of Commons in Westminster.
The council’s Participation Officers who facilitated the election this year have worked hard to include as many young people as possible.
Anna Todd, Participation Officer for Allerdale and Copeland, said:
“We have been overwhelmed with the response and support from schools and colleges and other youth settings that we work with. We are extremely pleased with the amount of young people that took part. The election is a fantastic way of involving young people in democratic processes, to learn, experience and have a voice in electing another young person they wish to represent them. Schools and colleges will be receiving Gold, Silver and Bronze Democracy Awards for their participation in the election this year. We look forward to sending these out and working with these settings in the near future.”
The council would also like to thank our outgoing MYP’s – Reece Hammond (Barrow and S Lakes), from The Lakes School in Windermere, Elspeth Dennison (Allerdale and Copeland), from Cockermouth School and Gabriel Aston (Carlisle and Eden), from Queens Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith – for all their hard work and commitment during their time in office, and congratulate them on the work they have done.