Martin Helps to Make History in Northern Ireland
Tuesday 3rd August
For the first time in its history, the UK
Youth Parliament held its annual sitting in Northern Ireland, at
the University of Ulster, Jordanstown Campus, Belfast from
26th July 2010. Bedford’s
representative was 17 year-old Mark Rutherford Upper School
student, Martin Leggett, from Goldington.
Martin spent two years as a member of
Bedford’s Youth Cabinet, supported by Bedford Borough Council
Integrated Youth Support Services, where he would work on
delivering petitions for items such as requests for cheaper
transport within Bedfordshire, and last October he also helped plan
a conference, held at the Corn Exchange, in which local issues were
covered. Martin continues to plan campaigns and is now a member of
the National Youth Cabinet.
Martin mingled with 300 Members of Youth
Parliament from across the UK who had all gathered in Belfast.
The four day event saw debates on the environment, health, crime
and education. Other issues included lowering the voting age to 16,
and transport provision for young people.
As part of the sitting, the 11-18 year-olds
visited Stormont and were addressed by Francie Molloy, Deputy
Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. During the weekend the
Members of Youth Parliament were also addressed by a number of high
profile speakers, including the Speaker of the House of Commons,
John Bercow, the Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Charles
Hendry, and Robin Newton, Junior Minister within the Office of
First and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland.
Cllr David Sawyer, Portfolio Holder for
Children’s Services said: “The UK Youth Parliament gives young
people a voice on issues that matter to them. It has been an
incredible experience and shows how important it is that young
people get involved in politics."