Local young people support national campaign

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Danielle and Tom at Westminster with Jo Platt MP and Community Deal Worker Dan Zahler

Two young people from Wigan have travelled to Westminster to show their support for a private members bill to make youth services statutory.

Members of Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet, Tom Kenning and Danielle Bamford, visited London to back the bill, which was sponsored by Lloyd Russell Moyle MP.

The Choose Youth campaign, led by an alliance of 30 national youth sector organisations and trade unions are encouraging public support for the bill, believing that every young person, regardless of their background or where they live should be entitled to high quality youth work, delivered by professionally trained staff. Public spending on youth services has dropped by more than half since 2011.

Tom, 18, from Bryn, says

‘We wanted to show our support because it’s important. We’re lucky to have youth services here in Wigan Borough but it’s a postcode lottery, some areas of the UK don’t have anything at all. If youth services become statutory there are also more ways of controlling standards and making sure young people are safe and getting a good quality service. Most of the young people at Westminster were from London areas, so I was glad we went to represent the North West.’

Danielle, 16, from Garswood, says,

‘I was nervous to go to London but I’m glad I went. I’ve attended youth groups run by Wigan Council for six years now and I’ve got a lot out of it. The staff have helped me out a lot; I didn’t want to speak to anyone at first but they helped me build my confidence and now I’m happy to talk to people.’

Danielle and Tom met Lloyd Russell Moyle MP as well as local MP’s Jo Platt and Yvonne Forvargue, who gave the young people advice on running their own campaigns.

Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet is run by Wigan Council to encourage young people to share their views and to build their skills and confidence to enable them to do that.

Councillor Jenny Bullen, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People’s Services, says,

‘I think it’s fantastic that young people travelled to London to show their support for something they feel passionate about and I hope their views will be listened to. We encourage all young people to have your say about anything that is important to you, either with your school council, Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet or your local councillor or MP.’

Wigan and Leigh Youth Cabinet meet every week. If you’re aged 11-17 (or up to 25 with a disability) you’re welcome to get involved. Or you could join a local youth voice group in Leigh, Wigan, Makerfield or Golborne. For more information email [email protected]

To support the Choose Youth campaign, go to www.chooseyouth.org