YOUNG people in Tameside have chosen their leaders to represent them locally and nationally.
Tameside Youth Council, supported by Tameside Council, held elections for members to vote for their representatives.
In a twist, each candidate wrote a manifesto with young people voting only on the strength of the anonymous submissions and by text message.
Joe Magee (15), from Ashton, was elected Tameside’s Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for a two-year term, which includes travelling to Westminster to represent the borough’s young people in the House of Commons.
Jacob Hirst and Emily Sykes were also elected as members of Greater Manchester Youth Combined Authority (GMYCA) and Bradley Gore was chosen to deputise for them, as well as being Joe’s deputy.
Joe, who has been a Youth Council member for around eight months, has someone to give advice close at hand – his neighbour is Charlotte Cooper, who he replaces as Tameside MYP.
Joe said: “I’m really happy to have got the position. My family were elated and all over the moon. I put a lot of effort into the manifesto, working on it for hours.
“The Youth Council is great in giving young people a voice and making them ready when they become adults to become politicians. I have been interested in politics my whole life.”
His manifesto included topics such as sport and obesity, community cohesion and social media and focused on reducing class sizes to help pupils achieve their potential and awareness and support for mental health problems.
Joe will lead on initiatives such as “Make Your Mark” where schoolchildren vote on which issues matter most to them, such as votes at 16, with MYPs across the country meeting at the House of Commons to debate and decide on how to campaign on them.
The Year 10 pupil at Ashton’s St Damian’s College will also represent the youth council at full meetings of Tameside Council and take part in Youthforia, a residential event that looks at issues affecting young people, as well as attend a host of other events.
Joe is a police cadet and a “gold tie” at school where he helps Year 8 pupils with numeracy and Year 9 pupils with a homework club. He’s interested in mythology and ancient history and has ambitions to go into teaching or politics.
GMYCA is the first of its kind in the country and will give members the opportunity to influence policy in Greater Manchester, advise the GM Mayor on youth issues and scrutinise the work of the region’s leaders.
Jacob (14) is a Year 10 pupil at Stalybridge’s West Hill School where he’s been chess champion for three years and plays trumpet in the jazz orchestra.
He said: “I’m really pleased to be chosen. It’s a really good opportunity and I hope I can do well with it. I want to make a difference in whatever way I can or whatever forms it takes. I’m really interested in politics.”
Emily has been a youth councillor for more than two years initially representing Dukinfield’s Rayner Stephens High School but now attending Clarendon College. She is keen to represent the voice of young people who identify as being part of the LGBT community and has worked hard to influence the GM Mayor.
Bradley (15) also attends West Hill and plays the saxophone and piano in the jazz orchestra and Tameside Big Band.
He said: “I’m excited and happy to have been chosen. I’m interested in politics and it’s a good opportunity.”
Tameside Council executive leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “Tameside Youth Council does an excellent job in giving young people a voice and it’s wonderful that candidates of such a high calibre have been elected to represent our young people both locally and nationally.”
Tameside Youth Council gives young people the chance to influence local decision makers and meets fortnightly at Copley Youth Base. For more information visit www.tameside.gov.uk/Policy/Youth-Council. Schools wanting their young people involved can contact Melissa Hopwood on 0161 342 3799.
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