Election success for Bicester college student

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A STUDENT from Bicester will speak out for young people across the north and west of the county after being elected to the Oxfordshire Youth Parliament.

Holly Laverick, 15, who is studying for her GCSEs at Bicester Community College, was one of nine new members of the Oxfordshire Youth Parliament.

Around 15 per cent of the county’s population aged between 11 and 18 cast votes in elections held over the last three months, and a total of 17 candidates stood for six available roles in north Oxfordshire, south Oxfordshire and Oxford city. A further three ‘ambassador’ roles were also created this year due to the number of applicants.

Holly, who is considering taking an A-level in politics after her GCSEs, said youth services and transport were two key areas of concern.

“I particularly want to support things that make Oxfordshire a better place for young people. I’d like to try to stop the closure of youth centres and stop budget cuts happening.

“Transport is another big issue. I’d like to see transport made cheaper and safer for young people. It can be very dangerous for young people travelling alone,” she said.

“I’d like to represent us in a way that makes people take notice and say, ‘Young people are doing some good’, instead of focusing on the small minority that let us all down.”

Holly began campaigning through her school in November, and found out she had won a UK Youth Parliament seat last week. She said she was looking forward to a year of new opportunities, including a chance to debate in the House of Commons in October.

Formed in 1998, the UK Youth Parliament has 600 members, who meet once a year at the UKYP Annual Sitting. Members organise events, lead campaigns, and influence decision-makers over matters of concern to young people.

Caption: Holly Laverick, far left, with other new members and Meera Spillett, director of children, young people and families (middle).