Wiltshire youth elections expected to attract strong voting
Voting for Wiltshire's youth parliament elections starts on Monday.
For the last two years Wiltshire has had the highest turnout of any youth election process in England with 70 percent of 11 to 19-year-olds voting.
Organisers are hoping this year will also attract a good turnout as young people are elected to be involved in the Wiltshire Assembly of Youth (WAY) and the UK Youth Parliament.
Election week runs from Monday to noon on Sunday, February 10, with voting free by text message – free text number is 80800.
This year, 11 candidates are standing. For the North, Chloe Lintern of Corsham, Hannah Kamphaug and Kieran Mulvaney, both of Chippenham, and Bill Crookes from Malmesbury, for the West, Caitlin Thacker of Trowbridge, James Davies from Bradford on Avon and Jordan Green of Melksham, and for the East, Charles McGrath, Aodhan Burnell and Josh Constable, all from Salisbury, and Sam Gallacher of Amesbury.
WAY was set up by Wiltshire Council’s predecessor Wiltshire County Council, with members sitting on a number of strategic boards for Wiltshire Council, ensuring children and young people’s views and best interests are heard. They have influence on decisions affecting children, safeguarding and services delivered to young people.
Recent achievements by WAY have included hosting a Young People’s Mental Health Conference which resulted in the creation of a Young People’s Mental Health Charter which all schools and mental health service providers are being asked to sign up to this year.
Wiltshire also has six representatives sitting on the UK Youth Parliament, who meet with their south west peers every six to eight weeks to discuss local issues and trends across the region.
Ellie Vesey-Thompson, 18, from Marlborough is the current UKYP East representative. She said: "I think this is something very relevant for young people everywhere right now. With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, now more than ever we must ensure that all young people are receiving an education that will be relevant to them in life."
Lionel Grundy, cabinet member for children’s services said: “Having these people keep us aware of what issues are affecting young people is key to our decision making. It’s excellent that we have had such a good turnout in voting for these candidates and we hope this will be the case for this election as well.”
Information on all the candidate’s manifestos is available to view at www.sparksite.co.uk.