Twenty-eight aspiring politicians have been elected as members to the Hackney Youth Parliament (HYP) last night. Seven representatives, aged 11 to 19, from each of the four districts covering the borough were congratulated by the Mayor at a Town Hall ceremony amidst cheers and applause.
More than 6,000 young people aged, all under the age of 18, voted for the representatives out of a total of 37 candidates, a huge increase from the 3,600 who voted in the 2010 elections. Ballot papers were counted throughout the day before the results were announced at 5pm in the Town Hall council chamber.
“It’s candidates who drive turn-out. Congratulations to all the candidates for actually getting people interested in voting,” said Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney.
The breakdown of votes in each area was read out by the Mayor and each one of the successful representatives was presented with a HYP sash.
Speaker Councillor Jessica Webb said: “It’s not just the winning: it’s the taking part. It’s being involved in the process.
“You have taken part in this process and for that I commend you most highly. You have made Hackney proud.”
HYP provides a platform for young people to voice their concerns, raise issues, and influence decision-making in the borough.
“It is a vital event that the council engages with and fosters and is an ideal way for young people to get involved with politics,” said the Mayor.
Many of the candidates want to build on the Olympic legacy, improve opportunities for their peers and challenge stereotypes about Hackney.
Ms Webb said that the overall mood is very positive: “We’re Hackney, we’re proud. This is a great place to live and work and that message is really getting through to the kids.”