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Young people have their say on key issues

Media Release : 14 March 2019

The Wealden Strategic Partnership is working with Heathfield Community College to host a Young Persons Engagement Event for Wealden secondary school pupils on 22 March 2019.

UK young persons parliament

The Forum will look at key issues which have been selected by the Sussex youngsters in the nationwide ‘Make Your Mark’ consultation including knife crime, mental health, period poverty, homelessness and equal pay. 

Some 21% of East Sussex young people took part in the consultation last year.  They were among one million young people nationwide who voted.

“The event is an excellent opportunity for the young people of Wealden to express their views and have their voices heard by the organisations that are best placed to make a difference,” said Councillor Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council, Portfolio Holder for Education at East Sussex County Council and Vice Chair of the Wealden Strategic Partnership.

The Young Persons Engagement Event is taking place at Heathfield Community College on Friday 22 March 2019, with Year 7-13 students from Heathfield, Uckfield, Uplands, Beacon and Hailsham taking part.

Caroline Barlow, Head teacher at Heathfield Community College said: “We are delighted to be able to host this event and give the young people of Wealden an opportunity to connect in a real way with those who can influence decisions and make a difference. It is our experience that young people are informed, eloquent and passionate about their locality and their future. It is our responsibility to ensure they feel heard and able to impact change. The issues chosen for focus are relevant and important to us all. I am looking forward to hearing the discussions and seeing the outcomes.”

Workshops will be facilitated by members from the Wealden Strategic Partnership who have experience of working to address the issues. Sussex Police will lead the knife crime workshop, the Southdown Housing Association will cover mental health and Wealden District Council will discuss homelessness. The Uckfield and Hailsham foodbanks focus on ending period poverty, whilst the issue of equal pay for equal work will be explored with Unison.

Every year young people up and down the country aged 11-18 participate in the UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Make Your Mark’ Consultation. The consultation is an opportunity for young people to identify the priorities that they would like to see the UK Youth Parliament focus on in the year ahead. Members of the UK Youth Cabinet will also be attending the Heathfield event to let the students know how they can get involved with UK Youth Parliament campaigns on these issues.