Youngsters go to the polls in Darlington's youth MP elections

The Advertiser Series: Youth MP candidates (L-R) Amy Merchant, Joe Clark, Rachel Gunnell, Josh Wakeford, Joseph Barker and Daniel Brown Youth MP candidates (L-R) Amy Merchant, Joe Clark, Rachel Gunnell, Josh Wakeford, Joseph Barker and Daniel Brown

YOUNG people in Darlington have been going to the polls this week to decide who they want to be their next Member of Youth Parliament.

For the past month, Amy Merchant, 15, Rachel Gunnell, 17, Daniel Brown, 14, Josh Wakeford, 16, Joseph Barker and Joe Clark, both 13, have been hitting the campaign trail in an attempt to secure a seat in Youth Parliament.

Elections are being held this week in schools, colleges and at C: The One Stop Shop, with all young people aged 11 to 18 eligible to vote.

Andy Whittam, participation officer at Darlington Borough Council, who helped organise the election said: “They have all done really well. I have seen lots of different flyers around which is a good sign.

“A lot of them have also set up Facebook pages and have quite a few followers, so they have all been doing different things.”

The new Member of Youth Parliament will be announced on Tuesday, March 4.

They will be given the job of helping fellow youngsters have their say on issues in the town for the next two years.

The six candidates have released manifestos highlighting their main concerns and hopes for the future.

Amy Merchant, 15, Longfield Academy of Sport.

If elected she will campaign for problem solving groups in Darlington for teenagers, combat the negative teenage stereotype by coordinating positive activities for students, and introduce a loyalty card for secondary school students for use in the town’s leisure facilities.

Rachel Gunnell, 17, Carmel College.

If elected she will campaign for improved internet safety, raise disability awareness, and encourage local government to allow young people to have more of a say in its decisions.

Daniel Brown, 14, Longfield Academy of Sport.

If elected he will campaign for improved health services for young people, more activities and clubs for young people in Darlington, and improve employment prospects for young people.

Josh Wakeford, 16, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College.

If elected he will campaign for votes for 16 and 17-year-olds in all elections, increased youth employment by developing better relationships between schools and local businesses, and more teaching of life skills in schools, including finance and basic food preparation.

Joseph Barker, 13, Darlington School of Mathematics and Science.

If elected he will campaign to stop alcohol abuse in young people, to reduce bullying, and tackle youth crime.

Joe Clark, 13, Darlington School of Mathematics and Science.

If elected he would campaign for more teaching of life skills in school, to combat youth unemployment by working with local businesses, the council and the Foundation for Jobs campaign, and lobby for better work experience for young people.

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