Ben Lomas, a Year 9 student at Rainford High, was recently elected to be the Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for St Helens.
This important role calls on Ben to represent young people’s views and concerns from the local area on a national level.
Speaking about the campaign, Ben said: “I first began campaigning for the role from January 2019, and me and Mrs Quinn, senior learning support assistant at Rainford High, devised a campaign strategy for the next two months – the election week was in March.
“Firstly, we constructed my manifesto which set out my policies and plans for my two-year term if I was elected. The policies that were prominent in my manifesto were making transport and leisure cheaper and more accessible for young people across the borough of St Helens and ending the scourge of knife crime which has become a major issue for young people not only in our town but across the nation.
Ben continued: “Having finalised my manifesto and having submitted it to the St Helens Council who monitored the MYP Elections, I then focused on campaigning and ways in which to engage young people in the process of the MYP election. Mrs Quinn and I, who worked tirelessly to support me, decided that the best campaign plan would be to focus on gaining the maximum number of votes from my school, and so with help from our School Council, we visited forms in Year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 and we also campaigned in the Rainford Sixth Form College. The encouragement and support I received was truly amazing.”
Ben also visited four local primary schools: Billinge Chapel End, Billinge St Aidan’s, Willowtree and Sutton Manor, in order to gain votes from students who were 11 years or older as the rules of the election state that only 11-18-year olds are eligible to vote.
Ben added: “As voting closed, we waited with great anticipation for the result of the vote. I won with over 30% of all votes received!”
Reflecting on the election, Ben said: “I am honoured and privileged to be able to accept the role as MYP for St Helens and I am elated to represent young people from our borough in meetings in St Helens, Wigan, Lancaster, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Ambleside and London.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that voted for me and I will do everything I can to make your voices heard and represent you well.”
Helen Quinn from Rainford High, who supported Ben during his campaign, said: “Everyone here at the school is so incredibly proud of Ben. He has invested a lot of time, hard work and dedication into this and it is wonderful to see that it has paid off.”
Nazia Nabi, participation and citizenship youth worker at St Helens Youth Council, said: “Ben joined the St Helens Youth Council in January 2018 and from the beginning he has always been enthusiastic and passionate about issues that affect young people in St Helens. I am delighted that he has been voted as St Helens MYP and believe that he will endeavour to deliver on his Manifesto promises.”
The United Kingdom Youth Parliament (UKYP) is a national organisation through which young people campaign to make positive changes for their peers across the country.
St Helens is entitled to have one member of Youth Parliament (MYP) and one deputy. In total, 17 young people put themselves forward.
Morgen Lamb from Hope Academy will take on the role as deputy MYP.