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16 March 2018

Cumbria elects three new Members of Youth parliament

The wait was over today for eighteen young hopefuls, who have spent the last few weeks campaigning to become one of three newly elected Members of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Cumbria.

With more than 5,500 votes cast, Cumbria’s new Members of Youth Parliament are:

Reece Hammond (Barrow and S Lakes) 16, from The Lakes School in Windermere.

Elspeth Dennison (Allerdale and Copeland) 17, from Cockermouth School.

Gabriel Aston (Carlisle and Eden) 14, from Queens Elizabeth Grammar School in Penrith.

Nominations took place between October 2017 and January 2018, with all potential candidates required to attend training activities, submit a manifesto, and prepare a campaign strategy. Campaigning took place in schools, academies and colleges across the county, with candidates delivering presentations in assemblies and taking part in hustings events.  All of the candidates’ manifesto pledges and campaign materials were available to view via a secure website, where registered voters were able to cast their votes from February 26.

Reece, Elspeth and Gabriel will represent Cumbria at the annual UK Youth Parliament later in the year - a debate held in the House of Commons and chaired by Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP.  The topics they will debate are chosen by young people from all over the UK in the national ‘Make Your Mark’ ballot. Last year, 18,000 young people in Cumbria took part in this conversation, and revealed their top three issues to be: Transport, Young People’s Mental Health, and a Curriculum to Prepare Young People for Life.

Reece Hammond, Member of Youth Parliament for Barrow and South Lakeland, said:
“I am really happy to have been elected, I’m most looking forward to the debate in Parliament, I think it’s really important for the views of young people to be debated and one of my main objectives is to secure votes for 16 and 17 year olds.”

Elspeth Dennison, Member of Youth Parliament for Allerdale and Copeland, said:
“I am honoured to have been elected by my peers, thanks so much to everyone that took part. I can’t wait to represent the views of young people in West Cumbria and I will do everything I can to make a positive difference.”

Gabriel Aston, Member of Youth Parliament for Carlisle and Eden, said:
“I am passionate about young people having a voice, so I am delighted to have been elected. I am most looking forward to the debate in the House of Commons and I am already considering politics as a potential career after I have finished my education.”

The newly elected trio will also host a residential ‘Youthforia’ conference at The Brathay Trust near Ambleside in April.  This will be attended by MYP’s from across the North West region and will be the first opportunity for the newly elected MYP’s to discuss their ideas and themes for the year ahead.   They will also contribute to selecting the issues to be considered later in the year as part of the Make Your Mark ballot.

John Macilwraith, Director of Children and Families Services at Cumbria County Council, said:
“Standing as a candidate in the UKYP election is a fantastic way to learn about representing the needs and interests of your peers, and how democracy works in action - I wish Reece, Gabriel and Elspeth the very best of luck for their year in office.”

Councillor Anne Burns, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“The UK Youth Parliament presents an amazing opportunity and platform for young people, and I’ve been so impressed by the depth and variety of the discussions I have seen. Young people are our leaders of the future, and engaging in the UKYP election and Make Your Mark ballot is a fantastic way to learn about democracy. Well done to everyone for taking part and good luck to our three new MYP’s!”

Cumbria elects three new Members of Youth parliament