A ballot that gives Lancashire young people the chance to have their say on what issues are discussed at a special session of the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) at the House of Commons is now underway.
The ballot, called Make Your Mark, will run until noon on Wednesday 9 October.
Votes can be cast online and through ballot papers issued in schools and youth centres by young people aged between 11 and 18. The result will influence what topics are debated by the Youth Parliament at the session in the House of Commons on Friday 8 November 2019.
This year, young people will have the opportunity to select one national issue, one devolved issue and an opportunity to identify an issue in their local communities. The ballot includes issues such as knife crime, the environment, mental health in schools and hate crime.
Megan Ginley, a Youth Parliament member for Preston, said: “I think it is really important that all young people use their vote and say what really matters to them.
“Just by putting a cross in a box for the issues that are the most important to them, a young person is having an influence on local and government policy with a national campaign and year-long consideration by the Youth Select Committee.”
“The ballot is now open and I would urge young people to use their vote.”
Local Members of the Youth Parliament are working with schools, colleges, youth groups and voluntary groups in their districts to encourage young people to get involved.
There are 10 topics on the Make Your Mark ballot paper for young people to choose from, and they can also suggest their own local issue. The five most popular topics will be discussed by MYP’s in their House of Commons debate, and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.
Last year, the Make Your Mark ballot surveyed the opinions of over 27,000 young people in Lancashire.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “The vote from Lancashire’s young people is always high, and I’m hoping for similar enthusiasm this year.
“Make Your Mark gives decision makers at every level of government the opportunity to understand young people’s priorities. Young people are passionate about the world they live in and their futures, and this annual ballot makes sure that their concerns are not only listened to, but also acted on.
“This is an extremely effective way of young people making their voices loud enough to be heard.”
The five main issues of concern for Lancashire’s young people last year were mental health, putting an end to knife crime, Equal Pay, Equal work, tackling homelessness and votes at 16.