Stockton Borough’s new Member of the UK Youth Parliament, Jess Hugill, 16, from Conyers School in Yarm, got down to her first piece of official business as she met with Council leaders and Cabinet Members for the first time.
Jess was accompanied by her Deputy, Kushan Bhardwaj, 15, of St Patrick’s Catholic College in Thornaby, as they held a roundtable discussion in the Leader’s office.
The two aspiring politicians were welcomed to the Municipal Buildings by the Leader of Stockton Council, Councillor Bob Cook, and the Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Jim Beall.
Two Cabinet members were also in attendance to welcome the youngsters, as Councillor Ann McCoy and Councillor David Harrington congratulated the pair on their recent election success.
Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Jess and Kushan to the Council and congratulate them in person on their successful campaigns. I have no doubt they will work hard towards tackling the problems facing our young people.”
Councillor David Harrington, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Management and Finance, said: “Jess and Kushan are two passionate young people who will strive to do their best in representing themselves and their peers. They will serve as inspiration to others to become more active in the political process, be it through registering to vote, taking a greater interest in issues or actively campaigning.”
Among the issues discussed at the roundtable were employment prospects for young people, the living wage and how to improve the level of engagement with young people from across Stockton Borough.
Jess said: “It was great to meet the councillors and Kushan to start to form the basis of some ideas about where would like to go and what we would like to do. It’s good to start working with them so soon. We discussed some big issues but we are looking to take little steps at first because little steps can make a big difference.”
Kushan said: “The meeting was a great opportunity to get to know the councillors and also to meet Jess as we will all be working together. It was great to give information and get information on our new MYP roles because we will need the Council’s help. My priority is to create a platform for students to come and have their say on what they want so we can help to build a better community, a better Stockton and a better UK.”