Wiltshire Publications

Westbury teen helps plan youth parliament campaigns

WESTBURYteenager Ellie Pullen, who is the member of UK Youth Parliament for West Wiltshire, recently attended a residential weekend with other members from the south west. 

Over the weekend the 60 members planned their campaigns, learnt about their role as a member of UKYP, found out more about e-safety, and even had a fancy dress competition where they had to dress up as their favourite heritage hero.

The group of 11-18 year-olds took some time to make Cornish pasties, travelled back in time to campaign and make banners surrounding votes for women, acted out the Cornish rebellion and even took part in a Ceilidh with music from a live authentic Cornish band.

The activities took place in the Sands Hotel, Newquay and made for light relief from the challenges of planning local manifestos and completing action plans for the year ahead, to represent and give young people a voice in their local area.

Other residential activities included ‘Everything you need to know about being a Member of Youth Parliament’, media training, ‘political jargon busting to understand words like big society, social change, and constituencies’. There were also sessions on staying safe online, and debated issues surrounding whether throughout history violent or peaceful protest had been more effective.

At the weekend, all the members and deputies choose their three main priorities for the year ahead and for the area of Wiltshire. These were promoting a positive image of young people in the media, anti-bullying and sign-posting of services to young people through the online youth website Sparksite.

Sixteen-year-old Ellie said, “My favourite part of the weekend was the workshop on suffragettes where we looked at how the suffragettes and the suffragists campaigned. We debated as to whether peaceful or violent methods of protest worked best.

“I have now got to know the new members so I can work effectively within the region.”

Pictured: Ellie (centre) and other Wiltshire representatives.