Sheffield’s transport pinpointed as top issue to be tackled by young people for second year running

Sheffield’s transport pinpointed as top issue to be tackled by young people for second year running

Sadie White No Comment

Transport in the city has been highlighted as the most pressing issue to be tackled by Sheffield’s young people. 12,020 young people from across Sheffield’s schools voted for their top ten local issues to be tackled as part of the Make Your Mark ballot. Make Your Mark is delivered by our Involvement and Participation team.

Eighteen per cent of young people from across the city who voted, said that service reliability, poor customer service, affordability and the impractical pass system were high priority issues for them in the city. This is the second year that the city’s transport has been highlighted as an issue by young people.

Luke Bassett, Youth Councillor for West Sheffield says, ‘For the past couple of years, young people in and around Sheffield have felt that public transport doesn’t work for them and more needs to be done to improve services and to make them want to use public transport.’

‘As a Youth Cabinet, we have carried out a consultation with young people in the city to find out what it is specifically about public transport which concerns them. More recently, we have been working with other Youth Cabinet/ UK Youth Parliament members from across South Yorkshire, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and travel operators from across the region on a South Yorkshire Youth Transport User Group. This gives us a chance to voice the concerns of young people and help improve transport for all.’

Work experience hubs for 11-18 year olds (15 per cent), a curriculum to prepare us for life (11 per cent), mental health (11 per cent) and protecting LGBT+ people (10 per cent) were voted as the remaining priority issues by Sheffield’s young people respectively.

Sheffield’s young people felt that campaigning locally for time to be put aside within the curriculum for initiatives that facilitate life skills development, for example work experience hubs for 11-18 year olds, where they can find work experience, should be high on the priority list. They felt it important that schools should cover topics including finance, sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum. Young people feel that there is too much of a focus on academic achievement and results and not enough focus on the skills that are going to equip them for the real world.

Joanna an elected youth councillor in the North of Sheffield comments on this, ‘Due to the strain put on my school for their students to have a high GCSE attainment, the focus is on academic subjects and exams as opposed to life skills. Schools particularly in the North, struggle financially, therefore often scrape their way trying to afford simple things such as books whilst trying to provide inclusive teaching. Due to this, schools sadly don’t have much time to do what’s most important; teaching young people that their voice is a gift.’

‘Encouraging schools to do something that isn’t mandatory can be a challenge but it was my elected role; to hear the voice of young people and represent it. When we found out the results it was fantastic! People in politics don’t represent young people, so we choose to represent ourselves and it is such an honour to be in Sheffield Youth Cabinet working alongside some incredibly inspiring people.’ She continues.

As well as campaigning on these locally elected issues, Sheffield’s elected Youth Parliament members or MYP’s are going to the House of Commons today to debate the top five issues nationally with Youth Parliament members from other local authority areas as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. They will then agree the top two national issues on the day to be taken forward as a national campaign.

Commenting on the results from the report Gail Gibbons, CEO Officer at Sheffield Futures comments ‘We are really proud to be in such a privileged position to be able to facilitate Sheffield’s young people in setting their local campaigning agenda to get their voices heard and initiate change as well as getting their voices heard at a national level.’

‘It’s so important that we listen to our young people and take action to enable positive change in our communities for the next generation.’

‘We’re really proud of our Sheffield UK Youth Parliament members and look forward to the outcomes of the national UK Youth Parliament debates at the Houses of Commons.’

Other issues close to the hearts of Sheffield’s young people include votes at 16, support for young carers and protecting school budgets.

You can get hold of a full copy of the Make Your Mark report which lists all the schools involved by contacting Lee Raven (lee.raven@sheffieldfutures.org.uk)

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