Three Somerset teenagers are about to be passed the torch of young democracy in action as they prepare to take up their roles as members of the county’s Youth Parliament.

James Lawson,14, Ellie Bealing, (re-elected) 16, and Emma Brown, 14, have been elected as the three new representatives and will formally take up the posts in March, taking over from Jas Fowler, who campaigned on youth crime and safety, and Joel Fowler who championed mental health and wellbeing. Ellie focused on equality, respect and inclusion and will be launching a new campaign.

Members of the Youth Parliament (MYPs) are elected through schools, colleges and youth clubs across Somerset every two years and represent Somerset at the national UK Youth Parliament.

Ellie said:

It’s rare for young people to have a loud and steady voice, but being a member of Somerset Youth Parliament is one of the best opportunities to keep our needs on the agenda.

I feel privileged to have a platform to represent the Youth Parliament, and hope to work with services and decision-makers to create lasting change in the attitudes of adults towards younger generations.

In my term as MYP I hope to explore healthy eating and behaviours. I’ll seek to understand what can be done to promote better understanding and choices – in particular surrounding body image and eating a well-balanced diet.

Cllr Heather Shearer, Executive Lead Member for Children, Families and Education, said:

I am delighted we will have three new MYPs who will build on the fantastic achievements of their predecessors. Democracy is the foundation stone of our society and the fact that young people are getting involved so enthusiastically is good for us all in Somerset.

They are supported by an advisory group of self-selected young people aged 10 to 25 from all backgrounds. More members are needed to make sure young people across Somerset have a voice and make the democratic process relevant.

Their experiences, opinions and abilities 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.

The age range for the advisory group has been widened to give younger people the chance to take part and to give those in their late teens and early 20s the opportunity to share their experiences and become mentors and role models.

To find out more, please get in touch with Kate Darlington. Email or phone 07964 699595.

Somerset UK Youth Parliament is supported by Somerset Council’s Youth and Community Service.

Ballot box

About this article

January 30, 2024

Debbie Rundle

Children and Families

Press Release