Campaign is on for Darlington’s next Youth MP

First published: Thursday 30 Jan 2020

Seven budding politicians have come forward as candidates in a bid to represent Darlington in the UK Youth Parliament 2020 elections. Manifestos have been prepared and campaigning has begun in the quest to urge young people to cast their vote in the election set to take place from 24–28 February with the count at the Town Hall, Darlington, on Monday 2 March.

Campaigning has already begun on Facebook at /Darlington-youth-Partnership-DYP where each candidate has presented their election manifesto.

The candidates are:

Elliot Cook, 14 from Hummersknott Academy – who is campaigning for: a student discount card to help save money on leisure activities; helping to support mental health programmes for young people; and a later start (10am) to the school day which will help to reduce pressure on students and improve grades.

Holly Johnson, 12, from Longfield Academy – who is campaigning for: stopping homelessness; stopping racism including creating a special flag for venues across the borough; and changes to the curriculum to include better preparation for adult life. Topics would cover budgeting, car insurance, understanding tax and pay slips.

Rowan Edwards, 11, from Longfield Academy – who is campaigning for: climate change – for Darlington to become carbon neutral by 2030;  free leisure cards for young people aged under 18; and creating an official E-sports team to help develop team working and social bonding amongst computer gamers.

Aiden Foster, 16, from Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College - who is campaigning for: Improved support for students suffering with mental health issues and support for organisations who help with mental health services; removing the stigma around poorer students and increasing support for year-round food banks and school uniform recycling; and making schools more environmentally friendly and sustainable by encouraging recycling, reducing the carbon footprint of a school and encouraging students not to drop litter.

Ellie Rush, 14 from Longfield Academy – who is campaigning for: compulsory work experience for all students under 18 to give them better career chances; making LGBTQ+ awareness and education a compulsory part of every school’s curriculum, ensuring that all young people fully understand what LGBTQ+ stands for; and aims to make schools more eco-friendly and energy efficient.

Layla Young, 11, from Longfield Academy – who is campaigning for: a greater focus on helping and supporting mental health amongst young people especially around educating them on these issues; giving the vote to 16 and 17 year olds; and helping the environment by encouraging recycling and discouraging single-use plastic and littering.

Sam Cordey, 14 from St Aidan’s Academy - who is campaigning for: reducing the amount of litter and rubbish on the streets and encouraging recycling; providing more activities for all young people; and helping prevent crime amongst teens and improve their reputation amongst the general public.

Anyone aged 11-18-years-old who either lives or is educated in Darlington can vote and ballot boxes will be located in secondary schools, colleges and other education providers.

The role will include meeting MPs and local councillors, holding events and running campaigns.

Current Youth MP Francis Humble, said:

“I'm very pleased to see we have a fantastic group of candidates running to be the next MYP in Darlington. The future of our town is in good hands, no matter what the outcome.'

Councillor Paul Crudass, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“It is heart-warming to see the passion and awareness these young people have about the issues facing, not just young people, but all of us today, and that they see politics as a way to push for change.  

“This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved with politics at a high level and I wish them all the very best of luck in the forthcoming elections. In addition, I urge young people from across the borough to take time to consider what each candidate is offering and make their vote count.”

More details can be found at www.darlington.gov.uk and search for Darlington Youth Partnership or by contacting the Council’s Youth Participation Officer,

Andy Whittam on 07949 518506 or email andy.whittam@darlington.gov.uk.

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