Students in showdown with politicians
Stockport Town Hall was awash with excitement on Friday 17th January as young people had the chance to debate topical issues with a host of VIP panellists from the region’s leading political parties.
Votes at 16, youth mental health and the importance of studying citizenship topped the agenda of the Question Time Event organised by Stockport College, with students leading the way in questioning the politicians on topical youth issues.
The event was organised by students to raise issues young people voted on as a part of the Youth Parliament’s Make Your Mark Campaign, for which votes at 16 came high on the bill for the sixth year running, and mental health for the fifth.
Panel member, Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Deputy Labour leadership candidate Angela Rayner was on her home turf as a former Stockport Council employee and Stockport College student.
Angela said: “Events such as this are great vehicles for real change, and it's crucial that young people can engage in debates with their local government on issues that are important to them. Students came with many challenging questions and demonstrated their knowledge on national topics.”
Chaired by BBC Reporter and Presenter Ricky Boleto the full panel consisted of students from Stockport College and Trafford College as well as VIP guests Sir Graham Brady MP, Angela Rayner MP, Marcus Noden Superintendent of Stockport Police, Stuart Dunne Deputy CEO Youth Focus North West, Councillor Charles Gibson.
Following the event member of Youth Parliament Faith Oliver said, “I think the panel have made it very apparent that the Mental Health services in our country, especially for young people, are not up to the standards that they should be.”
Stockport College’s Principal, Lesley Davies said, “This has been an fantastic event – and I am so proud of our students who took part. They are knowledgeable, informed young people who are taking charge in leading the way on social and political change.”
During the last academic year, members of the Stockport College Equalities Council appeared on television to talk about disabled access to railway stations, met with local Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, spoke with groups supporting better mental health and campaigned for an end to street crime in Greater Manchester by raising money for Sophie Lancaster Foundation.