On Febuary 5th 2010 I began my second term as a Sheffield Member of the UK Youth Parliament. Here’s a short review of the work I’ve done so far and the work I intend to do before my tenure is out.
In 2010, alongside the Youth Council, I sought to make health care provision something which young people could become involved. In this endeavour, I met with Membership Officers within the Children’s Foundation Trust and proposed the appointment of Young Governors, as part of all Children’s Hospitals’ governing bodies. In Sheffield the campaign has been a success and four Young Governors were hired to these new, involved positions.
My current project is the one I am most proud of, as it aims to provide essential support for dedicated young individuals, and add fairness to their day to day lives. The Young Carers campaign is one I have posted much about on my website. In brief, the campaign seeks to relieve these committed citizens of the stresses and strains of schoolwork. By implementing a Young Carer’s Card, these young people could be identified as eligible to receive extra support in the classroom and special consideration with regards to exams and work deadlines. The campaign has been rolled out across the Yorkshire and Humberside Region, and a card has been implemented in Kirklees and Calderdale. Final specifications for the card are currently underway here in Sheffield. This support will greatly improve the lives of many young carers. I am very pleased that Birkdale School is now supporting the Sheffield Young Carers Project as their charity for this year.
Most recently I’ve been doing a lot of work with regards to the rights of young people. In Sheffield and in many areas of the country the Mosquito Device blights the lives of many young people, by making no distinction between law abiding citizens and law breaking criminals. Because of my belief in fairness, especially in the treatment of young people as young citizens and not as young suspects, I proposed to ban these devices in Sheffield. In August 2010 I produced a video that encouraged young people to sign a Downing Street petition in favour of regulating the device’s use. In November of that year I wrote proposals with Sheffield’s Safety and Neighbourhood Manager that advised the City Council Cabinet to ban the device from all local authority and partnership buildings (such as police stations). The ban would also discourage private properties from using the alarms. I participated in a debate on my local radio with a City Councillor, so as to publicize the reasoning against the device and argue my case. I also contributed to generating press interest in the proposed ban which was bolstered by other organisations announcing their support for the cause. The proposals reached Council Cabinet on January 12th 2011, which I attended and the ban received unanimous approval. This is a great achievement for young people and for the Youth Parliament. It goes a great distance in altering the often negative perception we experience in society.
My role as an MYP is one that has allowed me to travel the country, meet the great political figures and exercise my passion for politics. I do this job not for these advantages but because I believe that social activism matters. When I have completed my term as an MYP I intend to continue my work campaigning on the issues important to me. The role has taught me that my belief in equality, social democracy, fairness and tolerance can be achieved through political action. Many believe that young people should have their views accepted because they are the future stakeholders in society. While this is true, I also believe, and know, that young people have a stake in society right now. The judgments made by politicians have an effect on the choices we as young people make. A representative voice for young people is justified.