Who is Peterborough's youth MP? Meet hardworking Eva Woods, 17, working to give city's youngsters a voice

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Eva’s platform exists to be a direct channel between young people and the policy-makers who hold power over the lives of 18-25 year olds.

Eva Woods is only 17 years old but she is already making waves around Peterborough.

The youth MP, who was first elected in February to a non-partisan role, is now the face representing young people in the city.

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It means she isn’t assigned to a political party but she is allowed to take a stance on issues – which sometimes incidentally mirror a party.

Eva Woods, 17, is not only just a student at Nene Park Academy but she's also the voice of Peterborough's youngsters - fighting for good causes and change for 18-25 year olds.Eva Woods, 17, is not only just a student at Nene Park Academy but she's also the voice of Peterborough's youngsters - fighting for good causes and change for 18-25 year olds.
Eva Woods, 17, is not only just a student at Nene Park Academy but she's also the voice of Peterborough's youngsters - fighting for good causes and change for 18-25 year olds.

Her job is to listen, support and execute problems affecting young people and lobby for change.

Eva never thought of taking on this role until her teacher nudged her forward for it.

‘Imposter syndrome’

“There’s definitely imposter syndrome,” she told the Peterborough Telegraph. “The task itself is a great honour.”

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“I thought there would be people out there who are better than me but my teacher told me to do it and it was a good confidence boost for me.

“There were issues which I thought were really important and which I thought we could make some real change on.”

Ahead of her election victory, the Nene Park Academy student campaigned on issues of: supporting schools to reduce sexual harassment and bullying, creating new PSHE curriculums which effectively address eating disorders - an issue close to her heart - and supporting young people in Peterborough to access university and higher education.

She is hoping to set in stone a longer term plan for a research tool, which will aim to support Peterborough schools to spot sexual harassment.

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She also wants to create a student consultation surrounding body image for better, constructive PSHE lessons – and continue dialogue with the university over how it can better give back to the city.

As Eva is a member of both the Peterborough Youth Council and UK Youth Parliament, she can escalate people’s issues as well as act on them herself.

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“I like to call Peterborough the underdog,” she said.

"I really do love it and the reason I do love it so much is because it’s got a long way to come. There’s people who are doing a lot of great work, especially in the arts.

“There’s no point in trying to airbrush the blemishes but we should always want to be singing the city’s praises.”

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City needs entertainment for young adults

Eva said she’s proud how ARU Peterborough has been championed as Peterborough’s own university.

But more should be done to make it a destination for young adults.

“I think the city has to step up to the mark now.

"If they want young people to stay in Peterborough there has to be something for us to do.”

It’s hard to think where Eva might find the time to do anything else other than lobbying for Peterborough to be a better place to live for 18-25 year olds.

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But alongside her youth MP role, the youngster has managed to squeeze in studying for a Certificate in Foundation Journalism, as well as working a part-time job at Joules, as a retail assistant, and spares the rest of her little time being the voice of Peterborough’s youth.

She’s also got her A-Level’s quickly approaching.

Many young people her age are still figuring out and forging their futures – but for Eva, her career pathway seems crystal clear.

She is hoping to study Spanish and Arabic at the University of Leeds before taking a Masters in journalism - all in a bid to become a foreign correspondent.

How do you find the time to fit it all in, she was asked.

‘Helps others to be seen’

“You really have to enjoy it, I spend a lot of my time working but it doesn’t feel like work.

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"It’s a very social job and you consider yourself among both colleagues and friends.”

Eva is holding public drop-in sessions on the third Tuesday of every month from 4pm to 5pm at the Town Hall in Bridge Street until her two-year tenure ends in February 2024.

“There are so many powerful young people in Peterborough, I hope I can help other people to be seen.

“I feel like this gives you a platform to say ‘I’m not just a young person with good opinions but there is a need and responsibility for them to be considered’.”

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Visitors can hold an informal conversation with Eva about anything which is important to them and their community at the drop-ins.

Or, Eva can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or drop her a message on Twitter (@evawoodsmyp) and Instagram (@evalindywoods).