Teenagers go to the polls

Members of Blackpool Youth Voice, from left Hazel Hall, Jake Adams and Daniel Straine-Francis.
Members of Blackpool Youth Voice, from left Hazel Hall, Jake Adams and Daniel Straine-Francis.
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Mental health, school work and better work experience options are among the hot topics which would-be young politicians will be focusing on this week.

For while MPs have to wait until May to find out if they will get elected, teenagers in Blackpool go to the polls this week to elect a new Youth MP.

Candidates, who must be aged between 13 and 18, have until Thursday to submit their manifestos and join the election race, while youngsters can either vote online on Friday, or at the town hall between 11am and 1pm on Saturday.

The winning candidate will succeed this year’s Blackpool Youth MP Liam Richardson who is stepping down after his year in office.

They will be part of the UK Youth Parliament which can influence decisions made in Westminster. Blackpool Youth Voice is putting forward two candidates through community interest company U.R. Potential based on Central Drive.

Student Jake Adams, 16, of Claremont, said: “I’m quite self motivated and set up my own community printing company when I was 14.

“I’ve been chairman of Blackpool Youth Voice for three years and I just think it’s very tough for young people in Blackpool at the moment so I’d like to help change things.”

Daniel Straine-Francis, 14, a pupil at South Shore Academy, is also standing.

He said: “The UK Youth Parliament is working closer with the proper Parliament now and I want to be part of it because young people are getting their views heard more and more now.

“Issues I want to focus on are that people with mental health issues need more help to know there is support for them out there, and also I think a lot of people are struggling to find jobs.

“So we need telling how important our GCSEs are and how they affect our chances in life after we leave school.”

Schools across Blackpool are also putting forward candidates who will all present their manifestos on Saturday.

Hazel Hall, 18, who is a student at Blackpool and The Fylde College, is helping to organise the elections.

She said: “I’d say to young people, make sure you vote because your views do count and we need to show the Government we are taking a stand for what we believe in.”

To find out more log onto www.blackpoolyouthvoice.co.uk.