Walsall’s young people have had their say as two new members of youth parliament and two deputy members of youth parliament were elected.
The ‘Big Announcement’ was made on Friday night (27 February) in a ceremony at Walsall Town Hall attended by young people, their family and friends and local councillors.
Over 9,000 votes were collected through web, ballot and text over two weeks from 2 – 13 February.
Young people elected Joscel Manirambona, aged 16, and seventeen year old Namir Chowdhury as their Members of Youth Parliament.
Ben Sharpe, aged 13, and Balraj Jhooty, aged 16, are the new deputy members of youth parliament.
They will represent the young people of Walsall both locally and nationally over the next two years.
Run by young people, the UK Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11-18 year-olds to use their voice in creative ways to bring about social change.
Before the announcement was made, attendees were treated to performances from a range of talented young people including Arctic Monkeys tribute band Frozen Chimpanzees (including Luke Downes, Ryan Ruddell, Jack Pierce, Nathan Boot).
Singers Laura Brown, Kayleigh Hudson and Nadekka Simmonds also wowed the crowd along with Extreme Illusion street dance troupe (including Nahjjah Simmonds-Wilson, Brandon Williams, Sharna Townsend, Shannon Gray, Reece Edwards, Cane Jeffery).
All of the candidates were presented with certificates acknowledging their hard work throughout the campaign.
Outgoing MYPs Jade Spruce-Powers and Omo Agboaye, both 16, and outgoing DMYPs Jack Brazier, aged 18, and Lydia McGann, aged 16, were also thanked for their hard work while in office.
Councillor Barbara Cassidy, portfolio holder for children’s services at Walsall Council, said: “It is important that young people’s voices are heard and that they are encouraged to participate in the democratic process and local government.
“This is why the involvement of local young people in the UK Youth Parliament is so important.
“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to the four young people who were elected but would also say that I was delighted and astonished by the standard of the campaign materials from all candidates, so well done to them too.
“Thank you as well to the outgoing MYPs and DMYPs and those that support the youth of Walsall for all of your hard work.
“The event was incredibly entertaining and I was encouraged to see the range of talented, hard working young people we have in Walsall.
“I wish you all the very best of luck and I look forward to working with you in the future.”