East Sussex youngsters making their voices heard

Libby Russell and Indya Wardle put forward motions 'End period poverty' and 'Let's tackle homelessness' that could now be debated by the UK Youth Parliament

Two issues from East Sussex youngsters have been put forward by East Sussex Youth Cabinet members, and could be debated in the House of Commons.

16 year old Libby Russell from Hailsham and 15 year old Indya Wardle from Eastbourne put forward motions ‘End period poverty’ and ‘Let’s tackle homelessness’.

They will feature among 10 issues which will be voted on my secondary school pupils from across the UK as their top priorities for the coming year under the ‘Make Your Mark’ scheme.

The five motions that receive the most votes will be debated by the UK Youth Parliament when it meets in the House of Commons in November.

Cllr Sylvia Tidy, East Sussex County Council lead member for children and families, said: “It’s a source of great pride that our youth parliament members have succeeded in getting their issues raised at a national level.

“I look forward to seeing which of the 10 issues young people in East Sussex choose as their priorities – and whether either of our young people’s two motions will have the honour of being debated in Parliament.”

Libby, who heard her motion had been accepted on the same day she celebrated getting all grades 8 and 9 in her GCSEs, is calling for free menstrual products to be provided on the NHS to young people under the age of 18.

She said: I first heard about period poverty on a podcast. It was never addressed in school and I’m lucky enough to have never experienced it myself.

“After speaking to young people in my area I realised that period poverty was a pressing issue, particularly affecting young people from larger low-income families.

“The fact that every young person in the country will have the chance to vote on a motion I propose is amazing. It really shows us the impact we have as MYPs.”

Indya argued for more funding for charities and other organisations that support young homeless people and for local authorities to do more to direct young people to services that may prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.

She said: “I am so incredibly happy that my motion has made it onto the ballot as it could then go on to be the campaign for the whole UK Youth Parliament and truly make a difference for homeless youth.

“In my town particularly I have noticed a definite increase in the amount of people – particularly young people – sleeping rough, and in Brighton as well, it’s estimated that as many as one in 69 people are homeless.”

The UK Youth Parliament members for East Sussex are elected by their peers on the East Sussex Youth Cabinet, which represents young people in the county and campaigns on issues important to them.