Youth election campaign marks local democracy week

PUBLISHED: 11:36 13 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:47 10 June 2010

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13 - YOUR voice, your Devon - that's the message from Devon County Council to young people across the county as it launches its campaign for nominations for next year's UK Youth Parliament elections (January 19-28).

YOUR voice, your Devon - that's the message from Devon County Council to young people across the county, as it launches its campaign for nominations for next year's UK Youth Parliament elections (January 19-28).

The campaign is being launched during national Local Democracy Week (13-19 October). Posters and leaflets are being sent to schools and youth groups in Devon encouraging people to put themselves forward as a candidate for one of Devon's UK Youth Parliament Members.

A nominations day is being held on Saturday, November 8, when young people interested in becoming a member can find out more about the work, meet other young, take part in workshops and nominate themselves as a candidate.

Candidates need to be aged between 11 and 18, live in Devon and be willing to represent other young people.

UK Youth Parliament Member for Mid and East Devon, Elsie Powell-Smith, said: "I think people should put themselves forward for election because you get to meet new people and being able to get involved in democracy is a great life experience.

"We meet every six weeks to discuss plans and progress, and also work on projects, but it's very much a case of the more work you put in the more you get out of the experience."

Kate Knight, who also represents Mid and East Devon, added: "There are various residential and training days to give you a rough idea of what's going on. People give you lots of guidance, so have no fear - we are here!"

Devon County Council's Executive Member for Children and Young People's Services, Cllr John Smith, said: "The theme for this year's Local Democracy Week is Take Part, Take Power, and so our focus is to encourage as many young people as possible to get their voices heard.

"We have a strong record in involving young people in decisions that affect them, and becoming a Devon Member of the UK Youth Parliament is an excellent way for young people to represent their peers and champion issues on a national platform.

"There are many issues that affect young people in their local communities - from public transport and things to do to education and bullying. We are looking for young people who are able to engage and consult within their communities and want to make a difference.

"We provide lots of support through workshops, help with manifestos and extensive training for successful candidates, and although there is some hard work involved, the job is extremely rewarding and fun.

"I would encourage anyone who is interested in standing as a UK Youth Parliament Member to come along to the Information Day and find out more."

An information and nominations day is being held at County Hall on Saturday 8, November, between 11am and 2pm. Lunch is provided.

Anyone who would like further information can contact Verity Heffer at verity.heffer@devon.gov.uk, or phone (01392_ 382044.

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