Young People 'Make Their Mark' in Cornwall
Owen Winter - Member of Youth Parliament for North and East Cornwall, speaks about the recent 'Make your Mark' campaign for young people:
"It's not often that young people get a say in politics. Under 18's can't vote, they can't stand for
election, and in many cases they are sidelined when it comes to political debate. Last month,
however, many young people got their first taste of political action. The largest consultation of
young people in UK history, Make Your Mark, ran between 12th August and 10th October 2015 and
involved almost 1 million people across the UK.
How did we get here?
In July, Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPs) voted on motions to amend the Youth
Parliament's manifesto, they then prioritised which 10 motions they would like to see in the Make
Your Mark vote. These 10 issues would be voted on nationwide by 11-18 year olds to decide which
5 topics would be debated by MYPs in the House of Commons and could become Youth
Parliament campaigns for the next year.
MYPs across the country encouraged schools, colleges and youth groups to get involved and tried
to get as many young people as possible to vote. In Cornwall alone, 8,000 young people voted for
the one issue which they felt was most important to them. Across the country, 967,000 young
The vast majority of young people that took part in Make Your Mark have never participated in the
political system before and have never had an opportunity to have their voice heard. The
Government now has a massive consultation on which to base government policy and the Youth
Parliament has a mandate to campaign on issues that young people think are important.
The Results in Cornwall:
Votes at 16: Give 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote in all public elections and
referendums including the upcoming EU Referendum. Percent of votes: 6.1%
Transport: Make public transport cheaper, better and accessible for all. Percent of votes: 8.3%
The end of austerity and child poverty: Young people want to see investment in
their lives and the lives of others in order to end poverty. Percent of votes: 8.6%
Mental health: Services should be improved with young people’s help and mental
health education should be compulsory and challenge stereotypes. Percent of votes: 9.6%
Extended Special Educational Needs support: There should be more, not less,
help for young people with special educational needs, including those with learning
difficulties and dyslexia. Percent of votes: 6%
Climate Change: Government should keep its promise to work globally to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the increase in global temperature to 2 °C,
and raise awareness locally. Percent of votes: 8.3%
A Curriculum to prepare us for life: Schools should cover topics including finance,
sex and relationships and politics in the curriculum. Percent of votes: 15.4%
Living Wage: Everyone should be able to live comfortably. Everyone aged 16 or over
should be paid at least the Living Wage of £7.85 per hour (£9.15 in London). Percent of votes: 22.5%
Fund our youth services, don’t cut them: Youth services provide us with vital
support, development opportunities and positive activities. Percent of votes: 7.4%
Tackling racism and religious discrimination, particularly against people who are
Muslim or Jewish: All young people should work together to combat racism and
other forms of discrimination, and ensure we know the dangers of such hatred. Percent of votes: 7.8%
These 10 issues, the results of Make Your Mark, the debate in the House of Commons and the Youth Parliament's next campaign will all influence MPs when they decide government policy on young people. Whether the government choose to listen or not, we will make sure they know exactly what young people want!
Healthy Gay Cornwall
Healthy Gay Cornwall, what is it?
Healthy Gay Cornwall is a sexual health service that was set up to provide sex, health and relationship information to gay men who live in Cornwall. Although our main target is gay men, anyone can access our website or contact us and get information. It doesn’t matter if you are Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, a father, a mother, a brother or a sister or an aunt or uncle for that matter….we will be able to help you find the information that you need and if we can’t then we can refer you to someone who is able to help.
Our service is free and confidential!
What do you do?
We work in partnership with other services like C-Card, Brook and Health Promotion. We cover all of Cornwall and attend events like Fresher Fair’s, Cornwall Pride and World Aids Day (1st December 2015), we also go into schools and help Brook with their Brook Bitesize sessions; we cover the sexuality stall.
We provide free condoms and lube via post to gay men who live in Cornwall (unfortunately this is a very strict rule so if you live out of county or do not fit the criteria i.e. are a gay man then we won’t be able to send you any…..but we can put you in touch with a local service that will be able to give you condoms and lube).
We can do face to face work with someone if they need it. It is totally confidential and done in a safe space where people can talk about sexuality, sexual health or relationships. We are not a counselling service though and if that is needed we will refer someone on to another service.
We also go to cruising sites like woods and lay-bys where some gay/bisexual men and men who have sex with men but who don’t identify as gay (known as MSM) meet to have sex. We give out condoms, lube and sexual health resources like booklets and leaflets.
Healthy Gay Cornwall also provides training and workshops to the community and other professionals. The training can cover a range of subjects, from HIV to relationships to coming out. All upcoming training sessions are on our website.
Where can I get more information?
Healthy Gay Cornwall has a great new website (www.healthygaycornwall.org.uk) that you can visit, where you can find out loads of information on different subjects like sexual/mental & general health, stopping smoking, drinking and drugs (to name but a few!). You can find links to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube pages.
There are plenty of contact details for our partner agencies too i.e. The Hub at Treliske Hospital , Young and Yourself (YAY) and the Cornwall C-Card scheme (which provides free condoms, lube and information to anyone aged 13 to 25 living in Cornwall).