The event was part of the Senedd's 'Vote 16 Week' in February 2021.
The groups of young people were set the challenge of forming five fictional political parties and presenting the issues that are important to them in the event hosted by the Senedd on 26 February. You can watch the full recording here.
Each party presented what matters most to them and how they think their parties would make Wales better, in the hope of persuading the audience to vote for their party. The parties were:
Equal Wales – Neath Port Talbot Youth Forum
Top topics: Education, Mental Health, Free school meals, Free sanitary products
Ardudwy Dragons – Gwynedd Youth Service.
Top topics: Mountain rescue, Mental Health, Youth Clubs
Creative Cymru Creadigol – National Youth Arts Wales
Top Topics: Arts funding, Environment, Economy, Equality for all
Advanced! – Treorchy Comprehensive
Top topics: Climate change, Education, Economic struggles
MTBWYF – Merthyr Tydfil Borough Wider Youth Forum
Top Topics: Children’s rights, Equality, Education, Mental Health
The evening saw young people from across Wales put forward questions to the panel before casting their vote.
With 41% of the vote, Equal Wales of Neath Port Talbot Youth Forum were crowned the winning party.
(Equal Wales: (Left to right) Lola Thair, Bethan Thomas, Bonnie Connor, Isabel Williams, Stella Orrin)
Use Your Voice
The group of 14-16 year olds of Neath Port Talbot Youth Forum, decided to put forward their party with the hope that the event would help get their voices heard.
"As a young person, I often feel talked over by adults. This event gave me the chance to really have my opinions listened to. I would encourage all young people to participate in such events in the future. It was a brilliant experience."
– Isabel Williams.
Their main concerns on education, mental health, free school meals and sanitary products included recommendations such as; banning single use plastic in Wales and reducing the cost of electric vehicles while supplying more charging stations.
"We have had support from many people in our local area, from our schools, youth service and even our local Member of the Senedd." – Lola Thair
Bonnie Connor, 16 who is amongst many young people as a first time voter in Wales says that young people need to be made aware that their vote can make a difference.
"It is important for young people to realise that the voting age was lowered for a reason, and that is to make sure that young people are having their voices heard."
The Youth Forum, based in Neath Port Talbot, provides a platform to empower young people and meets with local decision makers to help improve the area in which they live for them and future generations.
"We were all ecstatic and genuinely felt so relieved not that people voted for us but voted for our policies." – Bethan Thomas.
"To know that there are so many other young people who want to get involved, and who have strong opinions on what matters to our generation, makes me have hope for the future."
– Stella Orrin
Your Voice Matters
If you’re 16 or over, you can use your voice on the 6 May 2021 by voting in the Senedd Election
Use your voice, register to vote today.
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