A Shelfield Academy teenager is hoping to take his first steps on the political ladder by standing for election for a seat on the UK Youth Parliament.
Alex Lemord, aged 14, is hoping to take one of four seats available to teens in the borough, two for Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) and two deputy members (DMYPs).
He is one of 15 candidates from across Walsall who have been nominated. They have already taken part in a special pre-election workshop, organised by Youth Opinions Unite held at Walsall Town Hall in December.
The workshop, which was open to all young people aged 11-18 in Walsall, gave them the chance to find out more about the parliament and participate in various training sessions related to the roles of MYPs.
Young people participated in interactive sessions and games throughout the day including mini debates, communication skills, democracy activities, meeting roles and responsibilities and identity. All the young people that attended worked extremely hard and evaluations from the day were all positive!
Voting begins on the February 7, 2011 and finishes February 18. Any young person aged 11-18 living or attending school or college in Walsall can vote once for who they would like to represent them.
The MYPs/DMYPs work on various issues of local, regional and national importance. Over the past year, Walsall youth members have been involved in work on gang and knife crime, transport, international residential and exchange trips, and debating in the House of Commons.
Cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Rachel Andrew said: “Last year almost 8,000 young people voted in the elections for Walsall, we are hoping to encourage even more young people to get involved this year and have a real say on who they would like to represent issues that are important to them. “
“It’s a fantastic opportunity and we wish all the candidates good luck.”
Voting can be done in three ways; web, text and ballot. The Youth Opinions Unite team will be contacting schools and youth clubs to arrange ballot elections.
Results of elections will be announced at the “Big Announcement” event on the March 4 at Walsall Town Hall and will be available online from March 5 at http://www.youthopinionsunite.co.uk
Fifteen candidates are standing in the elections – Rikesh Patel, 14, Imiose Agboaye, 15, Trevor Taderera, 16, Alex Lemord, 14, Leah Wright, 14, Dean Ottewell, 14, Faye Morley, 16, Matt Lines, 14, Kylie Barlow, 13, Nadi Choudhury, 15, Becky Mason, 14, Sean Rafferty, 15, Hannah Reece, 14 Harry Methley, 16 and Wayne Maddox, 16.
Read their manifestos: UKYP voting poster 2011