14 February 2012: Meet the six hopefuls who are vying for votes in their bid to become Peterborough Youth MP for 2012/13 on Thursday (8 March).
ONE of these six budding politicians will be Peterborough’s next Youth MP. Students from every secondary school and college in the city had the chance to nominate a candidate aged between 11 and 18 to push forward the youth agenda.
And we are now down to the final contenders, who will be using the next month to campaign and garner votes in time for the elections at the town hall on 8th March.
That night Peterborough’s member of youth parliament (MYP) and two deputy MYPs will be chosen, in a glitzy election night.
Each candidate will give a short speech, and then the top three will take part in a ‘Question Time’ style debate before the final vote to decide who will become the member of UK Youth Parliament for Peterborough.
The result will be a combination of the Polling Station votes and the votes made on the Election Night.
Voting began yesterday at the youth access point in the Central Library in Broadway.
Once elected the MYP will represent the city’s young people at the UK Youth Parliament, attend city council cabinet meetings and sit on Peterborough’s Youth Council.
Locality manager for Peterborough City Council’s young people’s service Javed Ahmed expects another exciting night for 2012.
He said: “It’s a highlight for the year in terms of youth democracy in the city.
“More than 100 young people will turn up at the town hall and the ‘X-Factor’ style really makes democracy exciting.”
The six contenders spent last Wednesday at the town hall on a coaching day, learning how to prepare speeches from former city council leader John Peach, police chief inspector Kevin Vanterpool, and city mayor Cllr Paula Thacker.
The youngsters did an impressive job debating whether the voting age should be dropped from 18 to 16.
Those skills will help them on March 8, when they will again be expected to put their public speaking skills to the test.
Before then they will have two other opportunities to gather support at the Unity Saturday events at Club Revolution on February 18 and 25.
Unity Saturday events generally attract about 300 youngsters to take part in youth activities, so our half dozen will hope to entice them to the voting box while they are there.
Last year Kamal Hyman took the top role, alongside deputies Niamh Kingsley and Jeff Pusey.
He took a year out to achieve his campaign objectives of widening the voice of young people, supporting those not in education, employment and training, and increasing opportunities,
He was part of a group of young people that helped organise youth activities that assisted in building bridges between communities, taking more than 100 hours of voluntary work, and liaised with the police and council at the time of the London riots to give positive messages out to young people.
Meanwhile Niamh and Jeff worked to improve activities in Hampton and improve skills and employment awareness respectively.
Javed added; “Kamal has done a fantastic job, and has been a great advocate for young people in the city.”
- Each candidate has also put together a short Youtube video promoting their campaign - simply enter 2012 ‘Pboro Youth Elections’ in the search box.
Meet the candidates:
School/locality: Thomas Deacon Academy:
Interests/responsibilities: I am very interested in sports, my favourites are football and cricket. I also enjoy music and play the piano, and am trying to learn the guitar. I like to get involved within my school and I peer mentor a younger student as well as being part of a team which is currently designing a website which guides struggling children to the right channel of support.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP?: I think that this is a great opportunity to represent people like me. I have the chance to feed back on views from the youth of Peterborough. I would bring this enthusiasm and a passion in affecting the lives of young people.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today?: Dealing with the pressure at education. Young people need an opportunity to express themselves to everyone in the community to cast a good light upon us.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why? Peterborough is a good place and I believe that we just need everyone to know what opportunities are out there for young people.
School/locality: Peterborough Regional College.
Interests/responsibilities: Interests – climbing, PS3. PRC – Class rep and student union vice president.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP?: I enjoy getting my point across to people and listening to other people’s views, and would like to make a difference to young people in Peterborough.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today? Lack of confidence and being motivated.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why?: Yes because of the diversity in terms of people and the place itself. It also offers a lot of opportunities.
School/locality: Voyager Academy
Interests/responsibilities: Sports, religion, reading.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP?: I want to change the stereotype that portrays youths as ‘bad people’. I want to make a difference to my community. I would bring fresh ideas and more opportunities to young people.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today? Youth unemployment, youth crime, educational problems, NEETS, homelessness.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why? Yes, because everything is nearby, and although there are a lot of negative things it has the resources and opportunities to change.
School/locality: South – Stanground, Fletton, Woodston youth forum.
Interests/responsibilities: Part-time job, badminton.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP?: I want to voice the opinions of young people, knock out stereotyping and get young people in Peterborough heard. I am confident and willing to interact with all varieties of young people, hearing people’s opinions and views is my main aim.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today? Peer pressure - from friends to be a certain type of person or act in a certain way.
Bullying – large amounts take place in and out of school, and this must stop.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why? Peterborough has problems, but everywhere has!
The support for young people here is brilliant and there is always help regarding most issues. Small amounts of crime take place away from the city centre, this is an improving matter.
School/locality: Jack Hunt School
Interests/responsibilities: Dance, art, business, music. Cyber mentor (bullying), mentoring younger students, student council, pledge against prejudice scheme, form representative in school.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP? Young people don’t have much say and I want to change that. I would like to tackle the issues young people face such as unemployment and education. I feel I could represent these views in an honest and passionate forum. I would bring a loud and sophisticated voice to the decision makers.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today?: Education, unemployment, teenage pregnancies, youth alcoholism/binge drinking, social pressure.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why?: Yes because it is a mixture of different ethnic groups and society. It is trying to promote community cohesion and youth voices.
School/locality: North – Jack Hunt School
Interests/responsibilities: School council member which involves talking to other form member and organising charity events, reading classics, swimming, going out on summer days.
Why do you want to be the next Peterborough Youth MP? I would love to help out in the community because I am very passionate about charity and community work. I believe I will be able to help others like me because I want to beat the stereotypical image of a ‘not-bothered’ teen, and do something that will help my generation. I believe in the words of Ghandi: ‘you must be the change you want to see in the world’.
What issues do young people in Peterborough face today? I think that education is a big issue because currently schools are changing a lot, and I want to have a say and I will be in education for many more years. Peer pressure is also an important topic because I find that many youth think that smoking, drinking etc are the society’s norm.
Is Peterborough a good place to live? If so, why? Peterborough is an amazing place to live because I feel that the view points of the youth are taken into consideration. There is a lot of freedom of speech and good facilities and I feel we are luckier than most cities and countries in terms of opinions in the future.