Young people in Northumberland went to the polls today in the 2023 Youth Elections.
A record number of candidates have set out their manifestos as they bid to be selected for the county’s Youth Cabinet and Youth Parliament.
Just a few of the issues on the agenda include mental health, climate change, cost of living, equal rights, and jobs.
Polling stations are set up in the county’s schools for pupils aged 11-19 to have their say.
The votes will be collected and counted at County Hall, Morpeth, with the results announced live on the council’s YouTube channel at 4.30pm on Thursday 16 February
Once elected, the new members will play an active role in giving a voice to young people across Northumberland, campaigning on key issues and shaping local decisions that affect them.
Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services, said: “We have a record number of excellent candidates this year all campaigning on very important issues and I am looking forward to working alongside the successful candidates.”
Audrey Kingham, Director of Children’s Services, said: “I am delighted to see so many young people and schools getting involved in this year’s elections.
“It is vital that our young people’s voices are heard, and it is the role of both the Youth Cabinet and Youth Parliament to do this on their behalf and engage with their peers through school and educational settings.”
The Northumberland Youth Cabinet is an elected body of 11 to 19-year-olds, representing the views of young people across Northumberland. Over the last year, they have campaigned on issues including improving mental health services for young people and tackling climate change.
The Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) in Northumberland are representatives on the UK Youth Parliament. Jack Brodie, 17, a student at Ashington High School was invited to speak in the House of Commons on climate change as world leaders gathered in Egypt at COP27.
Jack said: “Being given the chance to speak in the House of Commons was an absolute honour. It is only just sinking in that I was able to join in a debate in the home of British democracy.