This year has seen the first combined Youth Parliament elections and Make Your Mark vote take place across the UK.
This has streamlined how all partners of the UK Youth Parliament hear the voices of young people. Across Slough during February, the youth voice team from Slough Borough Council supported schools, colleges, and youth groups to take part.
This year for the Make Your Mark vote instead of the usual 10 topics, five local and five national, there were only seven broader themes to choose from. They were: Covid-19 recovery, education and learning, environment, health and wellbeing, jobs - money - homes and opportunities, our rights and democracy, and poverty.
According to this year’s ballot, the top issue young people face is health and wellbeing with 93,023 votes cast across the UK. Slough showed that the top issue locally facing young people is education and learning, with the most votes (1,093) being cast for this issue alone.
Overall, 434,492 young people voted in this year’s Make Your Mark ballot from more than 780 schools, colleges and youth groups across the UK. This means that 7.06% of eligible young voters aged 11-18 years old took part, compared with a lower 3.13% last year on UK wide topics.
Locally Slough had the fourth highest percentage turnout of the 19 local authorities in the South East, but just narrowly missed out on a top 20 place nationally. In 2019 49.10% of our youth population voted, then during lockdown this fell to 8.5% in 2020. This year the youth voice team has worked hard to increase participation to 26.29% of all 17,279 voters, with 4,543 votes cast last month.
This reflects the difficulties in engagement over the last two years with additional pressures due to Covid-19 and reduced finances and resources. Also there has been a reduced number of schools and colleges able to take place in Make Your Mark and Elections, meaning fewer young people
were supported to vote in both.
Slough Youth Parliament Election Results
The successful candidates are:
1. Baylis Court – Maha Khan & Haddy Bojang
2. Beechwood – Dorothy Doku & Zak Savage
3. Churchmead – Dohissa Bentil & Samir Hussain
4. Ditton Park Academy – Basant Kaur & Srinidhi Vuppala
5. Eden Girls – Hiba Ali Kaunain & Yasmeen Amod
6. Grove Academy – Maya Shabir & Shaheem Hussein
7. Haybrook College – Casey Lynch & Vikram Jaswal
8. Herschel – Musa Sheikh & Ibrahim Zafar
9. Langley Grammar – Arjan Dhillon & Talha Bilal
10. Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy – Mellesa Marie MacCow & Hassan Yousaf
11. St Bernard’s – Georgi Karanayev & Sheen Philip
12. St Joseph’s – Adrian Fernandes & Hannah Crow
13. Westgate - Ahsan Iqbal & Blossom Odio
14. Yes Consortium – - Resource Productions - Riley Dyer, Aik Saath – Ananya.
Raha Izzadeen, current Slough Youth Parliament Member said: "I've become so confident and learned so much about issues that impact our lives. I'm a better leader when it comes to leading groups. I don't want to say goodbye as I want to keep doing this."
The Youth Voice Star Awards
These awards recognise young people and projects across the country who promote young people’s voices in a variety of ways. The ceremony was an online on Thursday 10 March by the British Youth Council in a joint Make Your Mark announcement and awards event live. Future Ikilo Aghedo, who has served on the Slough Youth Parliament for three years has won the award for Personal Development this year. He has served as mental health lead, trained as a mental health first aider and taken part in focus groups and consultation to help local services.
Future also developed and conducted his own research gaining 335 responses from students and teachers at Wexham School. He is passionate about highlighting injustice and inequality and believes every young person should have the right access to healthcare when they need it in a way that is accessible for them.
Councillor Christine Hulme, cabinet member for children and schools, said: “I never fail to be impressed by the commitment, resilience, passion and hard work of Slough’s young people. This has been a difficult few years for everyone and their motivation to improve their community has never faltered.
“They continue to be an inspiration to us all and our youth voice team at the council does excellent work in supporting our young people’s growth and development.”
For more information contact: Nadine Barrett, Youth Work Team Leader - Youth Voice, Slough Borough Council by emailing: email@example.com