Rochdale’s Youth Cabinet Member Christopher Marland has been elected to represent the views of young people across the UK.
Christopher, who is 19 and from Castleton, was elected by fellow members of the British Youth Council (BYC) to serve the youth of the UK at a bi-annual election held online.
To secure his election, Christopher had to post a one minute speech online and the BYC members voted for the young person they felt best represent them.
Christopher, now the UK Young Ambassador to the European Youth Forum, explained his excitement and apprehension:
“I am very much looking forward to standing for the country in European Youth Forums and representing the European Youth Forum in the country. I would like to thank everyone who voted for having confidence in me and I will do my best to serve the country’s youth. I’ve represented the region a few times but the country will be a massive change which I am going to revel in.”
Winning the bi-election means that he will now speak on behalf of British youth at forums held in different countries throughout the year; he will also be the face of the European Youth Forum in the UK. It will be a vastly different experience going from debating topics in the Rochdale Youth Council, like from ‘voting ages’ in the borough to discussing world events in the European Youth Parliament like the Ukraine crisis.
Councillor Donna Martin, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:
“This is a fantastic achievement by Christopher, showing how joining a local youth council representing a small number of people can lead to great results and representing millions of people. Being the country’s youth voice is a daunting experience but he has the full support from everyone in the borough and, I’m sure, the country.”
Christopher has been a member of the Rochdale Youth Council since he was 13 and has always been an active member involved in many projects and consultations. He had previously attended the European Youth Parliament Event in Strasbourg in May which motivated his application to be the voice of the UK’s youth.
As Britain is one of the 28 member states of the European Union, the BYC is a member of the European Youth Forum (YFJ). The Forum is responsible for youth campaigns and empowerment across the European Union, the Council of Europe and in the United Nations on occasion.
The YFJ has a membership of 40 National Youth Councils and 59 International Youth Non-Governmental Organisations.
In the long term Christopher plans to go to Edinburgh University and study history, he is yet unsure about his long term goals in politics but is taking each step as it comes.
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