Lynn student elected to Youth Parliament

Lynn student elected to Youth Parliament
Sophia Paffett is 16 and actively pursuing her future in politics

A sixth form student from King’s Lynn has successfully fought off all competition to gain a seat to represent West Norfolk as a member of the UK Youth Parliament.

Sophia Paffett, who is completing her first year of A-levels at Springwood High School, swept to victory in the election, winning a large majority with 2,322 votes.

“I had to run a campaign against three other candidates in the area,” explained the 16-year-old.

“We all had to attend debriefings on how to run our campaign, then we all shot a video talking about why we would like to be elected, what skills we have, and what we hope to achieve – my little brother helped me make mine.

“The videos were shown all around schools across West Norfolk and Breckland, where each student was given a sheet and had to select the candidate they wanted to vote for. These votes were counted with the most popular vote winning the seat.”

Founded in 2000, the Youth Parliament has members in every constituency across the UK, who are elected to represent the views of young people in their area. Students aged 11 to 18 are entitled to stand or vote in the annual elections, with over 500,000 voting each year.

“The Youth Parliament is an institution which was started by the Government to encourage young people to partake in democracy, as it is essential to our society, and democracy can only function with people’s participation,” continued Miss Paffett.

“There are meant to be one Youth Parliament Member and one Deputy per constituency in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England.

“We, as the Youth Parliament Members, run monthly forums to plan initiatives and campaigns to solve and spread awareness of young people’s issues, and we go down to the House of Commons to debate said issues. To fulfil these roles, it could entail focus groups, research, door knocking, literature delivery, and public speaking.”

After her successful campaign, Miss Paffett took up her post last month, following an inauguration ceremony on 17 April, where she made a presentation to Norwich City Council. Her first official forum took place at the beginning of May.

“For me, this is the one of the most exciting things to happen to me,” she added.

“It allows me to actually solve problems, even if they are small ones. Additionally, it gives me experience in the field – it allows me to meet and talk to councillors, partake in work experience, sit in on select committees, and partake or sit in on important debates.

“I am currently pursuing a future in politics, and this will give me the ability to actually make a difference and shape the world around me.”

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