NOMINATIONS are now open for young people aged 11-17 to nominate themselves to stand for election as a Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) in Somerset.

The three Somerset MYPs will represent three areas: Bridgwater & Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane & Somerset West, and South Somerset & Mendip.

The deadline for nominations closes at midnight on Sunday November 12.

Voting takes place in local schools, colleges and youth clubs from Monday November 13 until Friday December 15. 

11-17 year olds will have the opportunity to vote for three candidates in total - one from each area.

All MYP candidates will be notified of the results by Wednesday December 20, prior to an official public announcement in January 2024.

Somerset's current three MYPs will hand over to the new elects from January to March 2024, with their new term of office running from March 2024 until February 2026.

The new Members of Youth Parliament will be supported by an Advisory Group of 11-18 year olds from a variety of backgrounds - who will take part in consultations, decision making, planning and grant giving, as well as campaigning on their chosen manifestos.

Candidates will attend a compulsory Election Information and Development Day on Saturday December 9 in order to gain an understanding of "youth voice", influence, representation, as well as attending workshops on running a campaign, and public speaking.

This essential day of learning for all candidates will be held at Donyatt Village Hall in Illminster from 9am-4:30pm.

All in attendance will be invited to join the Advisory Group, who receive the same support and development opportunities as the three elected MYPs, as well as opportunities to run projects alongside the official campaigns.

Jas, a current Somerset MYP in Sedgemoor and Mendip, said: “We should be working alongside decision makers and services, especially where things affect our lives; consulting, advising, coming up with ideas and solutions – telling them what concerns us and what we need.”

Councillor Tessa Munt, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education at Somerset Council, said: “Young people will inherit the problems of today, and are the decision-makers of the future.

"This is why it’s so important that they have their say about the services and issues that affect them.

"I would encourage every young person who wants to voice their opinions to consider nominating themselves for the Youth Parliament, and for every single young person in the county to vote in the elections to make sure they are represented fairly and properly.

"MYPs are there to make sure your views are heard by the people who make decisions - when the time comes, vote!”

For those interested in nominating themselves for the election, two virtual information sessions will be available to attend on September 28 and October 4.

Potential candidates will be able to speak with current Youth Parliament members as well as members of the Advisory Group they would be working with.

Parents, carers, teachers, tutors, and community youth workers are all invited to come join the information sessions, of which spaces can be booked by visiting the following link: