The New Year got off to a great start for 11 young people who are vying to be the next Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Rochdale and Pennines, and Heywood and Middleton.
This year is the first year that the borough of Rochdale is eligible for two MYP roles - one each for the Rochdale and Pennines, and Heywood and Middleton parliamentary constituency areas.
They were shortlisted from 44 applicants invited to attend interview evenings run by the council’s youth service, where they faced a set of challenges. The 44 were whittled down to a final eleven following a vote from young people attending.
The seven candidates to be the next Member of Youth Parliament for Rochdale and Pennines, and their manifesto points, are:
Elizabeth Crompton, 16, from Matthew Moss High School: Life skills and diverse learning curriculum, safer transport and mental health.
Henry Leahy, 15, from Wardle Academy: Opportunities outside of school, school meals and mental health curriculum.
Joyce Kapiamba, 16, from St Cuthbert’s RC High School: Racism and inequality, exam stress and fun activities into curriculum to help attendance figures.
Maia Biddle-Mogg, 14, from Hollingworth Academy: Curriculum to include, mental health, sexuality, race, gender identity and climate change, school uniform and expression of individuality and free school meals throughout school holidays.
Milton Danczuk, 13, from Kingsway Park High School: Reduce racism and homophobia, improve local environment and climate change.
Rohey Khan, 14, from Kingsway Park High School: Reduce teenage pregnancies, teen homelessness and mental health.
Zaina Rahman, 14, from Matthew Moss High School: Support for young people for family issues or mental health problems, child exploitation and internet safety.
The four candidates to be the next Member of Youth Parliament for Heywood and Middleton, and their manifesto points, are:
Bethany Kilgallon, 16, from Hopwood Hall College: Mental health, youth homelessness and after school activities.
Emilia Wakeman, 15, from Holy Family RC & CE College: Youth spaces, opportunities and work experiences and environment.
Isaac Bell, 12, from Co-operative Academy: Homelessness, pollution and fast fashion and socialising is a skill and aid to mental health.
Nathan Walsh, 16, from Matthew Moss High School: Making streets safer, safer transport and reduce bullying.
Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Youth parliament elections are a tremendous opportunity for us to get a fresh perspective on what matters to young people. I love seeing the passion and enthusiasm they have on topics that matter to them. It’s vital that we listen to them and learn from them.
"We need young people to keep coming forward into politics, ultimately they are our future leaders and decision-makers. It’s so powerful having young people be such a strong voice for their peers and it will give them great skills and experiences for their future careers. Good luck to all of you.”
The candidates will now start their election campaign, speaking to young people across the borough on their manifesto points. Ballot papers will be arriving in schools and pupils across the borough will vote on their next Member of Youth Parliament. Results will be announced at a special event on 14 February 2022.
The last time an MYP was elected 9,530 votes were cast in the election and it was won by Adam Rennie.
He said: “I remember when I was gearing up to campaign for votes, so I know just how they will be feeling. It’s a really exciting thing to be part of and I hope each one of them really enjoys it.”
The MYP role is supported by the UK Youth Parliament who aim to give the young people of the UK between the ages of 11 and 19 a voice. This voice will be heard and listened to by local and national government, providers of services for young people and other agencies that have an interest in the views and needs of young people.
UK Youth Parliament is an independent national charity that has a rolling programme of activities across the year. This includes an annual sitting, regional meetings, and regular dialogue with Ministers including the Prime Minister and opposition spokespeople with inputs to policy and programme development.
For more information please visit rochdale.gov.uk/youthservice