Hello, I am writing my final words as Member of UK Youth Parliament for the Rochdale borough. It is in my greatest pleasure to be writing on here, but also a sad and emotional time at this stage to be saying my goodbye to you all. I have enjoyed every moment of being member of youth parliament and it has been an honour to represent young people in our borough. I have worked hard and fought for many issues in the local areas. Many young people will know me as the Rolce Royce girl or the 1.99 wrap from McDonalds, however I am still waiting for both of them.

My 3 manifesto points I was elected on were work experience, cheaper transport and living wage. My work experience campaign allowed me to attend the head teachers meeting and discuss why I think it is important that young people get the experience they need for the future. My transport campaign was helped by the local Question Time event myself and my cabinet ran where we discussed local issues of buses. Finally, living wage- I have discovered that something that I want to change I am unable to change due to my powers. However I have realised that many local businesses give the living wage and even the council has given a 10% wage increase. Working on my manifesto points has been hard work but good, its allowed me to take each step at a time and work alongside many people.

However, I couldn’t have got through this year without the support I have been given off the people that have been with me this year. I would like to thank Angie and Heather my two youth workers who have been my personal taxis, personal councillors, personal bouncers, but also a friend. It has been an honour to work with them and I was very lucky to gain two youth workers that supported me the way they have done. I would like to thank Jayne Taylor the BIG BOSS! who even though scares me, she has in fact been my personal assistant. Finally, I would like to take my time to recognise and thank my deputy Amelia Betham. Amelia, started off as my friend, we were lucky enough to be partners in crime and share memories within youth parliament business and we have come out of it even stronger. I hope Amelia grows in to a strong, confident girl who one day is running the world, like some other people that are as strong minded as me and Amelia.

I have been part of the Rochdale youth service for 3 years now, 2 of them years me holding the title as deputy member of youth parliament. Each year has been an adventure and I couldn’t of asked for a better experience throughout my teenage lives. I have met some crazy but loveable people. I have met my inspiration Leon Hollinrake and I was lucky enough to work with him in my first year as deputy. But finally, I have gained the experience and confidence to know that in years to come the power I have made this year, means that the power in years to come can be even stronger.

Thank you for everything and I wish the new member of youth parliament and deputy all the luck in the world, because if you don’t believe you wont succeed. xxx

Tabitha Rusden

Member of Youth Parliament 2016-2017