Youth Parliment & Cabinet

Largest youth consultation points to ending knife crime as top issue in Sheffield and nationwide

Tash Bright No Comments

Putting an end to knife crime has been voted as the top issue in the city as well as nationwide. That’s the result of the annual Make Your Mark Ballot, the UK’s largest national youth consultation in which 1 in 5 young people cast votes including 10,121 young people in Sheffield.

Thirty per cent of young people from across the city who voted said that too many young people’s lives had been lost and called on the Government to do more to tackle what they called the ‘knife crime epidemic.’

Improvement of mental health services and provision in schools (14 per cent), equal pay for young people doing the same work as adults in equal work (11 per cent), tackling homelessness and providing everyone with a place to live and an opportunity to live comfortably (10 per cent) and making public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all (8 per cent) were voted as the remaining priority issues by Sheffield’s young people respectively.

Kate Hardy, Member of Youth Parliament for Sheffield East says “In recent months the surge in violent crimes committed by young people has become more than apparent and seems to have affected many.’

‘I feel there’s a direct correlation between the cuts to youth services and the increase in violent acts, particularly knife crimes, amongst young people and said cuts urgently need to be reversed.’

‘Over the past three years over 600 youth centres have been closed across the UK and an 11% increase in knife crimes amongst young people seems to be the repercussion. Interestingly this comes at a time when there has been a 10% decrease in knife crime amongst adults. The government needs to take immediate action in order to stop further unnecessary deaths of Sheffield youth.”

As well as campaigning on these locally elected issues, Sheffield’s elected Youth Parliament members or MYP’s visited the House of Commons on Friday 9th November 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 have now agreed the top two national issues on the day to be taken forward as national campaigns: putting an end to knife crime and mental health.

Commenting on the results from the report Gail Gibbons, CEO Officer at Sheffield Futures comments ‘It’s fantastic to be able to facilitate Sheffield’s young people in setting their local campaigning agenda to get their voices heard and initiate change locally 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.’

‘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.’

 

UK’s largest youth consultation tackles the biggest issues for young people today

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Sheffield Futures is taking part in this year’s Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country.

VOTE NOW

In a national annual ballot running from 23rd August until 10th October, young people across the country will be asked what issues matter most to them, in order to determine what is debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons in November. Voting takes place through ballot papers issues in schools and youth clubs throughout the UK and online. Please vote here!

Ten topics will be available to choose from on the Make Your Mark ballot paper, with the five most popular topics among young people going on to be discussed by Members of Youth Parliament in their November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

Last year’s Make Your Mark ballot saw nearly 950,000 young people voting, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK.

Sheffield Futures support UKYP to campaign on the biggest issues facing young people today. Sarah Stevens, Sheffield Futures Young People’s Participation and Development Manager said: “It’s so encouraging that more young people are getting engaged with the issues which affect them, are challenging these issues and making sure that action takes place.

UKYP campaign to ensure those who can make positive change hear young people’s voices. Make Your Mark ensures that all the top youth issues are raised in schools, to local MP’s and commissioners. We are very proud of all they have achieved.”

This year, young people will be asked to choose their top issue out of the following

  • Mental Health – Mental health services should be improved with young people’s help; and should be available in schools.
  • End Period Poverty – Sanitary products are an essential item. The Government and the NHS should make them free and accessible for all who need it.
  • Votes at 16 – Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all elections / referendums.
  • Put an end to Knife Crime – Too many young people’s lives are lost to knife crime; the Government need to do more to help end the knife crime epidemic.
  • A curriculum to prepare us for life – Schools should cover topics like finance, sex and relationship education and politics.
  • Support Youth Services – Youth services help young people but in recent years they have been cut. Youth services need better financial support and security.
  • Equal Pay for Equal work – Give young people the same amount of pay, if they are doing the same work as adults in the same job.
  • Let’s tackle Homelessness – Every person should have a place to live and the opportunity to live comfortably. Let’s make it happen and put a stop to homelessness.
  • Transport – Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all.
  • Welcome Refugees – UK Everyone deserves the right to live without fear of death and persecution so we believe that refugees should be welcomed into communities in the UK.

Sheffield Members of Youth Parliament visit House of Commons

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Sheffield’s elected Members of Youth Parliament or MYPs, Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield), Jennifer Okerenta MYP (North Sheffield) and Sapha Habib MYP (East Sheffield) went to the House of Commons on last Friday to debate the top five issues nationally and agree the top two issues for national campaigns with Youth Parliament members from other local authority areas, as part of the Make Your Mark campaign. After a very impressive debate from MYPs from across the United Kingdom including a powerful and eloquent speech from Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield) on protecting LGBT+ people, ‘votes at 16’ and ‘a curriculum to prepare us for life’ were agreed as campaigns to take forward.

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Left to right- Jennifer Okerenta MYP (North Sheffield), Sapha Habib MYP (East Sheffield), Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield)

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Lara Ferguson MYP (West Sheffield) and nominated speaker for Yorkshire & the Humber, in action, delivering her powerful and eloquent debate led speech

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

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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)

Success for Sheffield’s youth election as voters turn out in their thousands

Tash Bright No Comments

Young people across Sheffield voted to decide who will be elected to join Sheffield Youth Cabinet, to voice their issues and concerns on a local, regional and national level. 2017 has been the most successful year for local young people voting in the Youth Cabinet Elections, with a total of 11,581 votes!

All over Sheffield, schools and youth clubs have been promoting the Youth Cabinet Elections, with posters advertising the school’s candidates as well as proud parents tweeting support on Twitter!

Birkdale School said: “Our lower school assembly handled the topic of democracy and we all voted [in the Youth Cabinet Elections this February.]”

Handsworth Grange said: “Pupils will be voting and showing their support. Good luck to our own Fozia Sultana.”

The candidates presented their manifestos in early February, which included their policies on important issues such as mental health, cheaper transport and a curriculum to prepare young people for life as well as other concerns.

The Elections announcement took place at Sheffield Town Hall and celebrated the achievements of the previous Youth Cabinet Members since they began their posts in 2015. Exiting members told of how they met with Members of Parliament and discussed the local issues they championed, which were then raised in the Houses of Parliament.

Lare Fergie said: “The past few years have been truly wonderful, and it has been an honour to represent the young people of Sheffield. One thing that has really stood out to me is that we can make a real difference.

Back when I was first elected, I had very little experience politically; I attended protests and was incredibly passionate about what I believed in. But since then I’ve managed to make some very real changes. I’m currently working for the Royal College of Psychiatrists alongside NHS England, writing pioneering policy, and pathways. I’ve spoken at countless conferences, to commissioning groups, and politicians. I’ve done TV, radio and newspaper interviews raising awareness of mental health problems… The list could go on.”

The group wished the new candidates well as they started their term in office.

Certificates were presented to the group for their achievements over the last year and each member was congratulated by Sue Mia, former Involvement Worker at Sheffield Futures who retired in March 2016. Sue said: “One of the best things about being a youth worker is seeing young people blossom, learn to have their say and I’m sure you will all go on to be a great success.”

MP Gill Furniss welcomed the event, saying: “Becoming a Youth Councillor will give you the confidence to speak on behalf of all young people in Sheffield. That confidence will help you to work with MPs and make a difference on a national scale. I’m so pleased that many young people have voted in this election and it is important that you all vote, and have your say in the future. Hopefully we will see you on the Council soon and in Parliament after that!”

The new Sheffield Youth Cabinet for 2017 – 2019 are:

Elected Youth Councillors for West Sheffield are; Arman (King Edwards VII School), Benjamin (Tapton School), Ismail (High Storrs School), Lara (Tapton School), Luke (King Edwards VII School), Rebecca (Tapton School) and Sam (Tapton School).

Successful Youth Councillors representing East Sheffield are; Abbi (Park Academy), Fozia (Handsworth Grange Community Sports College), Kate (Outwood Academy), Sapha and Shauna.

Elected Youth Councillors for North Sheffield are; Aisha, Jennifer (Hinde House), Joanna (Firth Park Academy), Leo (Yewlands Academy) and Megan (Ecclesfield School)

Lara Fergie, Youth Councillor for East Sheffield delivered a closing speech and thanked the participants for all of their hard work, saying: “Events like this give me hope that young people really do have a voice and I’m excited to see what we can achieve in the next two years.”

The schools which participated in the voting process also received accolades. Schools were given a Democracy Award for their achievements with the Bronze award for 50% or more students voting, going to Park Academy, Newfield School and Stocksbridge High School.

Over 70% or more of students at the following schools voted, earning the schools the Silver award: Birley Community College, High Storrs School, Meadowhead School, Chaucer School and Hinde House.

Yewlands Academy received votes from 100% students, earning the school the only Gold award.

Sheffield Youth Cabinet Elections 2017

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What is this election?

This election is an opportunity for you to vote for a candidate to become a member of the Sheffield Youth Cabinet. Each candidate has written a manifesto to explain what they hope to achieve in this role.

What do the Sheffield Youth Cabinet do?

The Sheffield Youth Cabinet aim to represent the voice of all young people aged 11-18 who live in Sheffield. As a part of their role they work on campaigns to make adults and other young people look at and listen to the issues that you want seen and heard. This work is voluntary. They are all passionate about making Sheffield and the UK a better and fairer place for young people.

Where and when can I vote?

  • A Ballot Box will be or has been delivered to your school.
  • You can vote in your school or possibly in your local youth club or at a youth group that you go to.
  • You can vote anytime from the 6th of February to the 14th of February 2017

Why should I vote?

  • You are voting for a young person who wants to make a difference for you and other young people.
  • Democracy and living in a fair and equal society is important for everyone.
  • These are not adult politicians making decisions about your future, these are young people giving you a voice now.

How do I vote?

  • Take 5 minutes to watch and listen to the Manifestos – coming soon to the Sheffield Futures website/Facebook and in your schools.
  • Decide which candidate you think would do a good job.
  • Think about the issues that they have said they will try to improve.
  • Put a cross or tick next to the candidate that you choose on your voting slip.
  • Put your voting slip in the ballot box.

If you have any questions please contactLee Raven – Youth Worker, Sheffield Futures, Star House, 43 Division Street, Sheffield, S1 4GE

Festival of Debate Events at Sheffield Futures

Tash Bright No Comments

We put young people at the heart of all of our services. It’s important that we help you to have a voice, and to know how to make the most out of opportunities to speak to decision makers. We’re hosting three events with Festival of Debate this autumn, that will help you to have your say and talk about global issues!

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The Global Vote (Tuesday 11th October, 5pm at Star House)

The Global Vote lets anyone anywhere vote in any election. The founder of the Good Country (who measure which country was the happiest) and the Global Vote, Simon Anholt is coming to Sheffield Futures as part of Festival of Debate to talk to young people about elections and votes in other countries and how they affect you, as well as showing them his website.

https://www.facebook.com/events/826891764114870/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-global-vote-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27305967885

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Asking Powerful Questions (Tuesday 25th October, 5pm at Star House)

This session is designed to help young people make the most out of every conversation with decision makers. It will help young people to discover who to approach, what to discuss and how to persuade. This workshop is run by the Politics Project through Sheffield Futures and Festival of Debate. As Sheffield Futures is all about young people’s voice, this is vital to our work and we would like to encourage all young people to attend.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1830089530556330/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/asking-powerful-questions-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27304357067

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Designing the Future (Tuesday 8th November, 5pm at Star House)

We want to know what young people think about global issues. We’ll be holding a world café discussion about: climate change, gender and race inequality, migration, water and sanitation, healthcare and more. This is a great opportunity for young people to have their say, discuss potential solutions and join the dots between the biggest global issues today. This is a joint event with Festival of Debate and Sheffield Futures.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1655412368083798/

To register:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/designing-the-future-for-young-people-festival-of-debate-tickets-27306324953

Together with Festival of Debate, we are hosting Young People’s Question Time

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When: Tuesday 5th April at 6-8pm

Where: At Star House, 43 Division Street, S1 4GE

The theme of the Question Time is youth unemployment, so we’ll be talking about work experience, local opportunities, whether preparing for the world of work should be in the curriculum and more.

This is a fantastic enrichment opportunity for young people to join the debate, have their say and find out what the people in the know think about youth unemployment in Sheffield. The event will be chaired by Deputy Member of Youth Parliament, Eleri Kirkpatrick and the panel is: MP Louise Haigh, Jon Maiden (entrepreneur,) Liz Wallis (MD of Sero,) and Hassun El Zafar (Education Officer at Sheffield Hallam University.)

This event is public and we would like a strong show of young people from the whole organisation. Please promote this event at every opportunity and encourage the young people you work with to attend. You can register to attend here: http://bit.ly/ypquestiontime 

There are leaflets available and posters too – these will be up in all CYT youth clubs and are up around Star House. If you would like any more, please let me know. We will be sending out posts about this on all of our social media, using the hashtag: #ypquestiontime

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