On Wednesday 15th February, the results of the democratic Member of UK Youth Parliament (MYP) Elections for the Rochdale Borough were anno0unced at Rochdale Town Hall.  Tabitha Rusden, the former MYP and Amelia Betham, the former Deputy MYP, handed the medals over to the new Deputy, Louis Tweedale, and the new MYP, Sarah Mahmood, both from Hollingworth Academy.

Hannah Nazir and Madeleine Bamford, the current Children’s Champion and Deputy, hosted the event and special guests including the Mayor, Gail Hopper (the director of children’s services), councillor Donna Martin and Councillor Janet Emsley, were also at the event and said some lovely words.  Tabitha gave her outgoing speech, bringing touching emotion to the room and telling everyone what she has achieved in her year as MYP (see her story at http://rochdaleyouthvoice.co.uk/all-posts/2017/tabitha/final-words/)

The 6 candidates for the elections were Ismaeel Hasnain, aged 15 from Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School (BRGS), Laila Kayani, aged 14 from Wardle Academy, Louis Tweedale, aged 14 from Hollingworth Academy, Jakob Vogan-Fox, aged 14 from Middleton Technology School, Mohammed Shajjah, aged 16 from Falinge Park High School and Sarah Mahmood, aged 15 from Hollingworth Academy.  Each of them had completed an application form, been shortlisted, attended an interview day and filmed a 1 minute video for the elections, telling young people what they would campaign on if they were elected as the new MYP.  This year, all schools and colleges across the borough participated in the elections, that’s 22 in total including Beech House, Brownhill, Redwood and Rochdale Boys and Girls Schools.  BRGS also had 300 students who live in the borough who were offered the opportunity to vote.  Online was also available which gave NEETs, cared for children, apprentices, young carers and young people who attend education outside of the borough the opportunity to have their say in the elections.

A record 11,000 young people voted in the elections this year and Sarah Mahmood received 36% of the votes.  In her year as MYP, she wants to campaign on raising awareness of mental health issues, exam resists and cheaper transport.  Sarah will now be chairing Rochdale Borough Youth Cabinet who meet fortnightly in the council chambers and will be working hard to improve the lives of young people.  Sarah will also be involved in the British Youth Council, UK Youth Parliament, Greater Manchester Devolution and North West Youth Forum with other cabinet members, to tackle issues on a larger scale.  Keep your eye on this site for updates on what they achieve and how you can get involved too.