Young people, have your say

Merton’s young people will be having their say and telling the council how they want their views to be heard from 10 – 14 May in Merton’s youth referendum.

The referendum will invite all 11-19 year olds in the borough to vote on ways in which their views on things that matter to young people can best be communicated to local decision makers. In true election sprit, travelling “polling stations” will be found in youth centres, schools and venues across the borough.

Merton Council engages with the community on a variety of different topics from service provision to planning but is determined to make it easier for younger people to get involved and give their views on schools, youth and leisure services, town centres, parks and much more.

With a ‘participation promise’ in place, the council has made a pledge to help young people have a say in things that affect them and other young people. It also specifically tries to make sure that consultation takes place in times and places that can be accessed easily.

Merton Youth Parliament representatives Jessica Ibeh (17) and Laurraine Oola (17) are encouraging young people to get out and vote in this year’s referendum.

Jessica Ibeh says: “I think this is a great idea. It’s Merton’s first youth referendum and it’s a good opportunity for young people to get involved in local politics and to actually have a say on what’s going to happen this year. ‘

Laurraine Oola adds: “If you’re between 11 and 19 years old this is your chance to get involved in your community, so make sure you get out and use your vote.”

Director of children, schools and families at Merton Council, Yvette Stanley says:

“This youth referendum is a really exciting step forward and shows Merton’s determination to ensure that young people have their say. Forums such as school councils and youth parliament have shown great ideas can come through when we make it easier for young people to get their voices heard and I’m sure this referendum will demonstrate this even further.”

For more information on the referendum, search for ‘Young Merton’ on facebook or visit http://www.merton.gov.uk/youngreferendum

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