17th June 2021

Make Your Mark – results are in

Over 2,200 young people aged 11-18 in Somerset made their mark this year within the UK’s biggest youth consultation by telling the Government and local decision makers what is important to them.

Somerset’s Youth Parliament, supported by Somerset County Council, promotes the UK-wide ‘Make Your Mark’ project that aims to highlight the big issues for young people and will culminate in national campaigns – whether it’s tackling climate change, giving youth a voice or ending knife crime.

Schools, youth projects and groups across the county promoted and supported the event and, despite this year’s challenges, young people have spoken.

Across the UK, over 180,000 young people voted throughout November 2020. The results will shape the national manifestos for 2021. Somerset results will drive the local youth voice conversation and agenda.  The topics voted for (in order of priority):

  1. Take action on climate emergency and stop plastic pollution (UK wide and Somerset).
  2. Domestic abuse (Somerset).
  3. Free University (UK wide and Somerset).
  4. Homelessness (Somerset).
  5. Increase racial awareness in the curriculum and tackle discrimination and hate crime (Somerset).
  6. Child poverty (Somerset).
  7. Support our mental health (UK wide and Somerset).

Elected Member of Youth Parliament, Amelia Saleh (aged 15), said: “It’s more important than ever that adults hear the voices of young people on issues that are the most important to them! We want to be taken seriously.’’

Before the vote, Councillor Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “The survey results are really important both locally and nationally. They must and will help influence key priorities for the future. In Somerset, we know that hearing young people’s voices is essential to making sure we shape our services to support our communities’ future in the best way possible.”

Somerset Youth Parliament will continue to promote their current local campaigns on the Environment; Youth Voice, Representation and Youth Crime; Safety and Empowerment; as well as champion equality, mental health and wellbeing.

Elected Member of Youth Parliament, Hanna Wittek (aged 17), said: “A growing concern for us has been the rise in Domestic Violence over the last year. We’re pleased to be working alongside the Police and Somerset County Council to support and promote initiatives by raising awareness through social media and designing information. For instance, Safer Somerset Partnership launched a county-wide campaign in December to raise awareness on spotting the signs of unhealthy relationships amongst teenagers. A dedicated webpage with further details along with a video on YouTube that highlights signs of an unhealthy relationship among teenagers was launched that has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. Click here to visit the webpage. To view the video on YouTube, click here.”

Somerset Youth Parliament will align their work to the national priorities and seek opportunities to embed and promote youth voice in decision-making by consulting, advising and supporting initiatives and campaigns at a local level, whilst working alongside services, politicians, and councillors wherever possible to prioritise and problem solve.

To find out more about Make your Mark and the work of the national British Youth Council, visit www.byc.org.uk

Committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Somerset Youth Parliament always welcomes new members aged 11-17 who live and/or attend school or college in Somerset.

To find out more about Somerset UK Youth Parliament group, Make Your Mark and local campaigns, email Kate Darlington at: kdarlington@somerset.gov.uk