The following groups or forums provide a space for young people to think for themselves, to question and challenge themselves and each other, and to develop confidence in expressing their own opinions. It introduces them to how things work in a democratic system. When a group of people vote, they exercise their freedom and right to choose. This is known as democracy.
Somerset UK Youth Parliament
Somerset UK Youth Parliament consists of 3 elected members and their deputies who represent Somerset at the national UK Youth Parliament. They are elected through schools, colleges and youth clubs across Somerset every 2 years.
They are supported by an advisory group of self-selected young people aged 11 to 18 from all backgrounds. They bring a range of experiences, opinions and abilities, which makes the group interesting, strong, fun and better able to represent others. Group members take part in consultations, decision making, commissioning and grant giving, as well as campaigning on their chosen manifestos. Somerset UK Youth Parliament is supported by Somerset Council’s Youth and Community Service.
To find out more, please get in touch with Kate Darlington
Phone 07964 699595
Somerset Youth Parliament Elections
Young people who live and/or go to school or college in Somerset and are aged 11 to 17 years, have an amazing opportunity to influence change with the Somerset Youth Parliament elections.
With the support of schools, colleges and the community, Somerset will elect 3 MYPs to each run a campaign of their choice. Elected Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) will also work alongside services and decision makers to ensure that they reflect young people’s experiences, opinions and priorities. This is a unique chance to represent the voice and interests of local young people across Somerset and at a national level.
Voting for the Somerset Youth Parliament Elections is now open. Voting closes on Friday 15 December 2023.
The 3 elected MYPs will each run a campaign of their choice for 2 years. This could be focused on any number of topics which are of interest or concern to young people. These may be:
- improving sex and relationship education in schools
- strengthening student councils and representation
- improving attitudes and awareness around Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups
- Special educational Needs (SEND)
- LGBTQ+ young people
- safety in schools and communities
or any topic which aims to improve outcomes for young people to live healthy happy and meaningful lives in our communities.
The elected MYPs will work alongside services and adult decision makers to reflect young people’s experiences, opinions and priorities. They will represent all backgrounds, abilities, and experiences on issues and topics important to them.
Jas, a current Somerset MYPs, said “We should be working alongside decision makers and services, especially where things affect our lives; consulting, advising, coming up with ideas and solutions – telling them what concerns us and what we need.”
Joel, also a current MYPs, said “No-one should work with or for children and young people unless our voices are included continually and consistently. ‘Youth Voice’ should be fixed at every level of decision making in services, to get the best outcomes as possible.”
Ask your school for details or email YouthParliament@somerset.gov.uk
Youth Town and Parish Councils
There is a long history of youth councils in Somerset towns and villages, including an award-winning Youth Parish Council in South Petherton. Find out more on the British Youth Council website.
School and College Councils
Most schools and colleges in Somerset have a student council or group involved in helping to run the school. You can contact individual schools to find out more about their councils.
Parliamentary Education Service
This service aims to educate young people and schools about parliament and how our democracy works. The Parliamentary Education Service website has many downloadable curriculum and training resources, as well as information about how to arrange parliamentary visits.
Citizenship Youth Parliament
The Citizenship Foundation is a charitable trust which encourages young people to take part in society as equal members. It helps them to understand the law, politics and democratic life and promotes inclusion and participation for everyone. The Foundation provides resources for schools and colleges to use, as well as promotes awareness-raising and social action campaigns.