Released: 5 November 2019
The voice of youth in West Sussex remains strong, with nearly 50,000 votes cast by the county’s 11-18 year olds on the big issues affecting them.
The West Sussex turnout was 33% for the national Make Your Mark ballot and the 49,664 votes were the third highest in the country and the highest in the South East.
In total, over 25,000 young people in West Sussex had their say in Make Your Mark – the country’s largest annual youth consultation which this year saw over 1.6 million votes.
West Sussex has four Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYP) who are heading to the House of Commons on Friday, 8 November to debate the top five issues:
- Protect the environment
- Put an end to knife crime
- Mental health
- Tackling hate crime
- Curriculum to prepare us for life
Among those heading to Westminster will be West Sussex MYP Farah Khan, who canvassed 12,000 of the votes herself – the highest in the entire country. Farah, 17, who represents Crawley and East Grinstead, said: “I’m delighted that young people in West Sussex care so passionately about the issues that affect us all. To more than double last year’s vote is fantastic and I’m honoured to have been selected to read out a speech of thanks in the Commons.”
The debate will be recorded and shown on Parliament TV the next day, and the MYPs will vote on the final two issues which will become the UK Youth Parliament’s priority campaigns for 2020.
Jacquie Russell, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I am very impressed to see that so many of our young people took part in the national ballot. Their voices provide us with an invaluable contribution to debate and help us all connect and understand the issues that matter most to them whilst growing up in today’s society.
“To have the third highest number of votes in the UK is phenomenal and is testimony to the fact that our young people are passionate and want to be heard.”
The next group of West Sussex Youth Parliament members will run the new campaigns alongside the West Sussex Youth Cabinet and applications for 2020 are now open for both.
Young people aged 11-17 can run for the four Youth Parliament places or the 48 Youth Cabinet places, or both. Applications close on Wednesday 8 January 2020.