We would like to show our support here at SSFC for this worthwhile campaing: Make Your Mark is a national campaign that is ran by the UK Youth Parliament and gives young people aged 11-18 the opportunity to take part in a nationwide ballot to decide what the main campaign will be for Youth Parliament the following year. This year, the ballot opens on International Youth Day, August 12th, and will run until October 5th. It is easier than ever to get involved this year as there will be the option of online voting, ballot papers and tally voting within schools.
Last year was a huge success, both nationally and here in Stockton. Nearly one million young people took part across the UK and over 7000 votes were collected from schools and youth clubs around Stockton thanks to the hard work that our Make Your Mark Champions put in. The top five issues nationally were taken to the House of Commons and on the 13th November 2015, the Youth Parliament held their annual debate and decided that our 2016 campaign would be “Tackling Racism and Discrimination”. The debate was a brilliant event and I was honoured to represent the young people of Stockton at the dispatch box to summarise the debate for the Living wage. This was an issue that was raised as one of the most important in Stockton and it was brilliant to see the engagement of young people and hear their feedback after the debate.
As a result of last year’s Make Your Mark, a brilliant campaign has been set up in Stockton in line with the national campaign “Don’t Hate, Educate!” and we are hosting a multicultural event at the Arc on the 21st July. This event will allow us to celebrate and learn more about the different cultures we have in Stockton and will consist of different events and activities for people of all ages: I would encourage anyone to come along!
As well as this, Young Business Club and first ever Youth Market are being launched in Stockton High Street this March. The event was a huge success, with many young people making profits and putting the skills they’ve learnt through the Young Business Club workshops to good use.
Make Your Mark is a brilliant opportunity for students to get involved in democracy and have their say on issues that will affect them. Last year, we were very lucky to have support from so many schools in Stockton and this year we are hoping to get many more people involved, especially with the ease of online voting.
Registration is very quick and any teacher can do it. All you need isto select how your school will vote and, if you chose paper ballots,how many you require. Voting will open in September and can be carried out in tutorial sessions or assemblies, or whenever best suits your school. Myself or a Make Your Mark champion will be available to conduct these voting sessions too, should you wish us to do so.The link to registration is:http://www.ukyouthparliament.org.uk/makeyourmark/schools-colleges-organisations and it is easier than ever to sign up to vote. I’d encourage you to sign up as the feedback we got from young people last year was incredible and it’s a brilliant way to get students engaged indemocracy.