New Member of Youth Parliament elected for Westmorland and Furness

The new Member of the Youth Parliament for Westmorland and Furness was elected yesterday following a special ceremony at County Hall, Kendal.

The Youth Parliament is a non-Party political body where 11–18-year-olds represent the views of the area’s young people at a regional and national level. The new Westmorland and Furness Member of Youth Parliament voted in yesterday was Honey Barker.

Honey Barker’s manifesto was around keeping children safe on social media, and the impact of it on their mental health.

Honey said: “It’s great we can work together and serve the young people of Westmorland and Furness and make a difference to their day-to-day life.  What I’m really focused on is mental health and social media because a lot of young people are self-harming or have bad mental health because of content they’ve seen online.

I’d really love to work with some charities set up such as the one for Molly Russell who took her own life, fund raise for them, and raise their profile.  I would also want to be involved in pressuring the government and the tech giants to bring in regulations to manage this more effectively.”

Instead of having just 2 Deputy Members, the Presiding officer, Milorad Vasic, Director of Children’s Services at Westmorland and Furness Council, advocated that all the young people who had entered would be Deputies, as they had such interesting subjects on their manifestos, and were so passionate about making a difference.  This means there are now 6 Deputy Members of Youth Parliament. The deputies are: Aamna Mannah, Brandan Slater, Charlie English, Dillan Ashton, Erin McCanny, Thomas Colquhoun.

Milorad Vasic, Director of Children’s Services and Westmorland and Furness Council and Honey Barker, new Member of Youth Parliament for Westmorland and Furness.

Other subjects included:  Raising awareness around autism and neuro-divergence in schools and generally. Road safety for young people in particular distraction of phones and headphones both for pedestrians and young drivers. Raising awareness for the tech industry and how many jobs are available and how young people can find out about these jobs.

Milorad Vasic said: “Everywhere I go in Westmorland and Furness, I am impressed by our young people. They are caring, well informed and confident when it comes to expressing their views. All the candidates today were passionate, eloquent and had thought through their manifesto and how it could help their friends and young people in our area.

Honey’s manifesto about supporting young people as they navigate the world of social media making sure it is a positive experience for them, is one that is so important right now.  Now we have our MYP and deputies in place, we will be involving them over the next year in the world of democracy here.”

To find out more about the UK Youth Parliament, visit the National Youth Agency.

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