Young people speak up about issues important to them

Tackling racism and religious discrimination is a key issue for young people in West Sussex.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 9:15 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:47 pm
Students from The Towers Convent School accepting their Make Your Mark certificates

Students spoke passionately on the subject as part of Democracy Day, when 57 young people aged 11 to 18 gathered to discuss the issues which mattered to them the most.

Worthing High School, The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding, St Philip Howard Catholic School in Barnham, Rydon Community College in Storrington, Hazelwick School in Crawley, West Sussex Alternative Provision College and West Sussex Young People’s Service were all involved.

The annual meeting was part of a takeover challenge hosted by West Sussex Youth Cabinet and provided a platform to raise awareness of the importance of democracy and the democratic process.

Youth Cabinet member Sofia Comper-Cavanna delivering the Curriculum for Life opening debate

Kelly Balmer, UK Youth Parliament representative for the South East Procedures Group, said: “Encouraging young people into politics is vital. West Sussex’s Democracy Day enabled them to do so and see the effect they can make.”

She opened the event in Horsham with Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for children - start of life. Both spoke of the importance of young people becoming active citizens.

Mr Hillier added: “I was very privileged to go along to an event where young people were openly passionate, while admirably articulate, about the issues that affect them.

“There were a number of issues which were hotly debated - adding life skills to the curriculum, improving mental health services for young people, and tackling racism and religious discrimination.

Dan Sanders delivering a workshop entitled Resilience to Online Radicalisation

“Their enthusiasm was infectious and hopefully, as a group, we can tackle some of these issues head on. We are already making sure these discussions are fed back to county council’s children’s services to help us inform the design of current and future provisions.”

The issues discussed were chosen through the national Make Your Mark ballot, in which 18,302 votes were cast in West Sussex.

There were also workshops which looked at designing the new sex and relationships digital curriculum services, and creating resources to build young people’s resilience to online radicalisation and extremism.

To find out more about the Youth Cabinet in West Sussex, visit

For more information on the UK Youth Parliament, go to

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 – Make our website your homepage

2 – Like our Facebook pages

3 – Follow us on Twitter

4 – Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

Sussex Newspapers – always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.