Record number of young people turn out to vote in new youth parliament

More than 1,700 young people in one borough turned out to elect their new youth parliament and its leaders over the last month.

Southwark council has seen a 40 per cent increase in participation in its youth election compared to last year. Voters also elected 52 members to represent them – seven more than the last election, with 13 additional reserves.

After young people cast their vote in October, elected members voted in their parliament leaders, in Tooley Street, Southwark, on November 16.

Sarah Campbell, 15, from Southwark, was chosen as youth leader. She said: “I feel both honoured to be the leader and excited to work with all the wonderful people as part of Southwark youth parliament.

“I’m sure we’ll accomplish many things together and be a representation of what Southwark can do.”

The youth parliament is made up of two candidates from each Southwark school and two candidates from ten Southwark community areas – all aged between 14 and 19.

Previously, members of the youth parliament have influenced key decisions that affect young people including the council’s anti-misogyny campaign targeted at young men and boys. 

Southwark councillor Portia Mwangangye with Southwark Youth Parliament last Thursday (Picture: Southwark council)

Molly O’Connell, 14, from Southwark, was elected as deputy youth leader said: “I’m thrilled and surprised that I even managed to be a part of Southwark Youth Parliament, let alone Deputy Leader, and can’t wait to contribute to the group positively!”

Southwark’s young voters also decided on the most important issues they wanted the parliament to address. The vote highlighted priority issues including mental health, youth violence, the environment, careers and training, and poverty. 

Councillor Portia Mwangangye, deputy cabinet member for young people, said: “Congratulations to Sarah, Molly, and all the new members of Southwark Youth Parliament! I’m really excited to get stuck in together on the key issues that Southwark’s young people care about the most. 

“You will help us make sure young people are at the heart of decision-making at the council.

“You follow in the footsteps of our very first youth parliament members. 

“I’d like to thank them for their time, hard work and commitment. I’m so grateful for all their help in making Southwark the very best place it can be for young people, setting them up for success in every part of life.”

Pictured top: From Left, deputy youth leader Molly O’Connell, youth leader Sarah Campbell and Cllr Mwangangye (Picture: Southwark council)

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