Published on

26 February 2024

New youth MP for Wokingham Borough elected

A new member of youth parliament was elected last month, with candidate Maya Guelbert receiving the most votes and taking on the role, which will include chairing the local Youth Forum and representing Wokingham Borough at the British Youth Council.

Borough mayor Beth Rowland stands in the council chambers between newly elected youth mp and vice youth mp

Maya Guelbert, a year nine student from The Holt School, inspired attendees with her plans to increase accessibility and awareness of careers and future life, to lobby for more assistance for low-income households and to raise awareness of drug and alcohol abuse.

Maya said: “I strongly believe that today’s youth can fix these issues. We are the future: nobody knows what we need."

Maya smiles towards the camera while standing in the council chambers

A warm welcome

The elections were held in the chambers at Wokingham Borough Council’s Civic Office at Shute End, and were opened by Julian Bushell, manager of the Wokingham Secondary Federation followed by Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Beth Rowland with a speech about democracy and local government and what the role of the youth parliament is.

Holly Mackinnon, the outgoing member of the youth parliament, shared highlights from her two year term, which included attending two House of Commons debates at Westminster and  getting  council decision makers to consider the newly created Youth Charter in strategic decision making, including consistent youth engagement with local decision makers and creating a Youth Portal Online Careers and Enrichment Platform.

Candidates from five schools presented their manifestos, schools cast their votes and Maya was elected as new member of youth parliament,  supported by Will Hunt, a year eleven student who was elected vice.

Maya said of her new position: “I’m very excited to have been elected and look forward to bettering our area. I look to be able to include everyone’s ideas to make this possible. I think that as a team effort we can make Wokingham Borough a better place.”

Will Hunt in the council chambers

Our future is in safe hands

Cllr Beth Rowland said: “I was hugely impressed at the depth of knowledge all candidates had of the issues faced by them, their peers and wider society and the way they were able to put this across so compellingly.

“I want to congratulate Maya and Will, as well as all the other candidates who put themselves forwards to represent their peers. I look forward to seeing Maya working with us at the council on Holly's achievements.”

Cllr Prue Bray, executive member for children’s services, added: “I have been privileged enough to attend many events and meet many young people in the borough. The more of our young people I meet,  the more heartened I am that the future of our country is in safe hands.

“I’d like to thank Holly for all of her hard work as member of youth parliament for Wokingham Borough and look forward to working with Maya to continue making the borough as best as it can be for our young people.

The role of the member of youth parliament

The role of the MYP is to represent the voice of young people within their community on a local and national level. It gives a platform for its members to campaign on issues important to them as well as offers opportunities to attend national events like conferences run by the British Youth Council.

Youth Parliament is part of the British Youth Council’s Youth Voice Programme created in 2000.

Locally, the elected candidate chairs Wokingham Youth Council for their two year term, getting input from peers on what projects they focus on and having a direct link to meet with local decision makers.

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