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Young Wales: UK Youth Parliament event 2015

On 13 November 2015, Young Wales supported 16 young people from12 local authorities to attend the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons, London.

The event, facilitated by the British Youth Council, is the culmination of a year-long programme of work, which sees the House of Commons chamber handed over to young people from the UK Youth Parliament for a day of debating.
The event is chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, who welcomed the debates and praised the young people for getting involved, saying: “The record number of ballots in the vote to select issues to be debated at the annual sitting of the Youth Parliament demonstrates that it is a showcase event for young people and the issues that matter to them. I am pleased that the House of Commons can offer the Chamber as a platform for young people to share their views.”

Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said: “I am delighted to welcome the UK Youth Parliament back to the House of Commons for their annual meeting. I hope that every MYP is proud to have the opportunity to represent their peers, and I am certain that they will have enjoyable and successful session in the Commons Chamber.”

The work in Wales began in the summer when youth forums and schools took part in Make your Mark, voting to choose the topic to be debated in the House of Commons. Youth forums also voted to select a debate lead from Wales.
Across the UK, a total of 969,992 votes were cast, and the top five issues that young people chose that affect their lives were:
  • A living wage: everyone should be able to live comfortably. Everyone aged 16 or over should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour (£9.15 in London)
  • A curriculum to prepare us for life: schools should cover topics including finance, sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum
  • Transport: make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all
  • Mental health: services should be improved with young people’s help and mental health education should be compulsory and challenge stereotypes
  • Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are Muslim or Jewish: all young people should work together to combat racism and other forms of discrimination, and ensure we know the dangers of such hatred
On the day, the young people debated which of these should be chosen as the national campaign for 2016 for the UKYP.

Alisha Gibbons from Carmarthenshire was selected as the Debate Lead for Wales. Alisha spoke against the motion for making mental health the national campaign for the coming year, and following a full day of debates, working together to combat racism and religious discrimination was chosen as the national campaign.

In addition to the five debates, there was a final debate entitled My Magna Carta, where 13 young people presented a short speech about what this meant to them. Katherine Davies from Swansea was the Wales representative for this debate.

In Wales, the young people had taken part in debate workshops in October to help them prepare for their day. Young people and their youth worker supports travelled to London on the Thursday and stayed overnight in London ahead of the day.

All the young people who participated thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and many made strong and valuable contributions to the debates. A number of the young people who took part are already considering a career in politics! One of the young people said: “ I feel empowered and lucky to have had the chance to represent young people in my area, it increased my confidence in public speaking.”

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UK Youth Parliament 2016

ukyp 2016

On 11 November, Young Wales supported 18 Welsh Members of the UK Youth Parliament to take part in the annual Youth Parliament debate in the House of Commons Chamber. Ahead of the event, training and a mock debate were held to help prepare the young people for the day.

276 elected members of UK Youth Parliament (aged 1118) from across the UK debated the top issues affecting young people, as voted on by young people at the event. Chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Members of Youth Parliament voted to campaign on votes at 16 and a curriculum for life in 2017.

29,819 young people across Wales voted in this year’s Make Your Mark Ballot Paper, with A Curriculum To Prepare Us For Life receiving 5,216 votes. During the debate MYP stressed the importance of education giving them the knowledge they need to live their daily life, including health and relationship information and the skills needed in daily life, such as managing money and opening a bank account.
Votes at 16 has been a campaign issues discussed at the UK Youth Parliament for several years and there were passionate speeches for the campaign in the House of Commons Chamber.

Curriculum for Life was chosen as the priority campaign. Previously the UK Youth Parliament has campaigned on this topic and Members of Youth Parliament have engaged with a Youth Select Committee inquiry-and British Youth Council initiative, delivered in partnership with Parliament. Members of the UK Youth Parliament commented that “UK Youth Parliament is committed to pursuing a curriculum that prepares young people for life. We believe that the place of citizenship education and the curriculum should be radically overhauled and next year Members of Youth Parliament will be campaigning to ensure this remains a priority.”

In Wales Curriculum development has been identified as one of Young Wales’ priorities for the year, together with domestic abuse and healthy relationships, and the Together for Children and Young People programme, in relation to well-being.

Make your Mark 2017 launch

On 12 August, Young Wales will be facilitating the launch of the UK Youth Parliament Make your Mark ballot for young people in Wales.

The ballot will decide what Members of the UK Youth Parliament should debate and vote on to be their campaign for in 2018. The debate will take place in November 2017 within the House of Commons.

Make Your Mark gives a unique opportunity to reach out to young people who go on to be opinion formers and leaders of the future.

Through youth forums and councils, youth organisations, schools, colleges, online and through our grassroots across Wales we’ll be reaching out to young people once again to find out what is important to them.

Each local authority has been offered two places at the above event – this includes their respective Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) and one other young person per local authority, with the exception of Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taff who are allocated two MYPs plus one young person based on population size.

The event will cover information on UKYP and Make Your Mark, and also tip tops for debating skills and practical arrangements for the annual Parliament in November.

Just over 30,000 ballot papers were returned and registered for Wales in 2016. This was an excellent result and we’d like to increase this in 2017!. 

You can find out more about Make Your Mark, please see the UK Youth Parliament website at http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark/.

For more information about the event in Wales, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..