Slough’s young people turn out to vote in record numbers

Published: 31 October 2017

The UK’s largest youth consultation just got bigger as Slough achieved the highest voter turn out in the country at this year’s Make Your Mark ballot.

The annual Make Your Mark ballot asks young people aged 11-18 across the country to choose the top five issues that matter most to them.

Slough achieved an 80 per cent turn out as 9,368 young people chose from 10 big issues affecting their lives, including lowering the voting age to 16 and making public transport cheaper.

Sixteen secondary schools took part in the ballot, as well as youth groups from the YES Consortium and the Young People’s Service.

The five issues with the most votes were:

  • work experience hubs for 11-18 year olds
  • making public transport cheaper
  • a curriculum to prepare us for life
  • protecting school budgets from damaging cuts
  • votes at 16.

Councillor Madhuri Bedi, cabinet member for children, education and families, said: “This is the fourth year Slough has taken part in the Make Your Mark ballot and the positive response from local young people shows how enthusiastic and engaged they are about the issues that really matter to them.

“The ballot is a real local youth engagement success story. In 2015 Slough was recognised as the most improved local authority with a voter turn out of 6,487. In 2016 we went on to achieve the second highest percentage turnout in the country and this year we’ve come top in the UK.

“I couldn’t be more proud or inspired by the passion and commitment demonstrated by the young people of Slough. I congratulate them on this exceptional achievement.”

Slough’s Youth Parliament will now bring the results of the ballot to the attention of local decision makers, including local councillors, the MP for Slough Tan Dhesi, the Slough Association of Secondary Heads and the Wellbeing Board to discuss next steps.

The national result will go on to be debated by the UK Youth Parliament during their House of Commons sitting on 10 November, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.

Slough will be represented at the debate for the third year running, as Alaa Fawaz, 16; our member of the UKYP for Slough will be participating.

Slough Youth Parliament is supported by the Young People’s Service, Slough Borough Council.

For more information on Slough’s Youth Voice initiatives, email sloughforyouth@slough.gov.uk