NEARLY 7,000 local young people have been getting involved in the democratic process over recent months and during Local Democracy Week, Thurrock Council is highlighting their concerns.
Between mid-August and Saturday (10 October) the council’s Youth Cabinet was asking young people what their most important concerns were.
The Make Your Mark ballot is run by the UK Youth Parliament and gives every young person – aged 11 to 18 – the chance to vote on their top issue from ten options.
Top of the list in Thurrock was the living wage where everyone over 16 should be paid at least Â£7.85 an hour for their work – 1,406 people voted for this.
Just behind, with 1,033 votes, was “a curriculum to prepare us for life”, suggesting schools should cover topics like personal finances, sex and relationships, and politics in the curriculum.
Transport – making it “better and more accessible for all” was third.
Other topics on the ballot were votes at 16 (345), the end of austerity and child poverty (651), climate change (274), mental health (721), funding for youth services (228), tackling racism and religious discrimination (821), and extending special educational needs support (450).
In all there were 6,904 responses.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of Thurrock Council, said: “There are some fascinating results here, results that should give us all pause for thought.
“The Make Your Mark scheme is a great project for us in Thurrock, allowing the Youth Cabinet to take forward some of the top issues as well as giving we older politicians things to think about.
“On a national level the youth parliament is hoping to get over a million young people’s votes together and using them to support its 2016 national campaign – its current campaign is raising awareness of mental health.”
In the weeks and months ahead the Thurrock Youth Cabinet has several exciting projects planned, including a youth conference in November and the launch of a youth drop-in service in early 2016.
To find out more about the Youth Cabinet’s activities and projects for young people in Thurrock please get in touch via @youngthurrock or facebook.com/youngthurrock, or go onto the Thurrock Council website.