Opening the Youth Summit, Virendra Sharma MP said: “You have immense energy, skills and ideas to shape and improve society and our environment today…reports Asian Lite News.
Virendra Sharma MP hosted the second annual Youth Summit with more than 100 Sixth Form students from Elthorne Park High School, a local secondary school in his constituency. He was also joined by Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the Ealing Council Cabinet Member for Decent Living Incomes. Councillor Mahfouz’s portfolio consists of COVID19 recovery, community development, post 16 education, apprenticeships, skills, employment, further education and higher education amongst other responsibilities.
The Ealing Southall MP welcomed the students and later answered their questions with Councillor Mahfouz on issues that matter most to them. The students were then placed in six groups of policy areas to discuss, debate, and write up a three-point manifesto which they later presented to all attendees. The topic areas included citizenship & political representation, education, physical health, mental health, economy – economic inequality and environment.
Opening the Youth Summit, Virendra Sharma MP said: “You have immense energy, skills and ideas to shape and improve society and our environment today. The pandemic has maybe forced you to grow up faster than you would have. So, it is important now more than ever that elected representatives empower you to be active citizens and to voice your concerns. By taking action in your local communities, you will gain skills and experiences that will help you achieve great things after school life in further education and employment.”
Speaking after the Summit, Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the Council Cabinet Member for Decent Living Incomes said: “Elthorne Park students showed their passion to make a difference locally and globally putting forward transformative proposals to make our neighbourhood and the world a better place! It was clear their priorities are for a healthier and greener future and they want to see politicians tackle the climate crisis, prioritise jobs and promote positive mental health. They showed in abundance, the reason why the government should lower the voting age to 16. Elthorne Park students are really blessed to have an MP like Virendra who reaches out to engage, listen and promote open government.”
Presenting the 3-point manifesto on Mental Health students said: “This should be part of the school curriculum with a bigger part of PSHCE and mental health should be seen the same way as physical health. Mental health in the community should be promoted through youth centres, online and in person support, mentoring and counselling. There needs to be mental health support at employment levels, reduced NEATS, and increase in apprenticeships.”
Virendra Sharma MP thanked the students for their presentations and the Head of Sixth Form at Elthorne Park High School, Ms. Holly Thomas, for helping to arrange the two-hour virtual summit. He promised to report the manifesto points directly back to the Council to address the recommendations made by the students. The Ealing Southall MP will be hosting the Youth Summit again next year in association with other local secondary schools in the constituency, having hosted students from Villiers High School at the inaugural summit last year.