Leiston: Student savours year in youth parliament role
09:01 24 April 2014
A promising politician is hoping to make a genuine difference to the lives of youngsters across Suffolk, following her recent election to the county’s Youth Parliament.
Erika Spall is busy studying for 10 GCSEs at Alde Valley School, in Leiston, but relishes the additional task of representing the views and concerns of her peers over the next year.
The 16-year-old, from Leiston, is one of 12 new members to make up the Suffolk UK Youth Parliament, and joins Michael Meredith as representative of the Suffolk Coastal constituency.
After successfully applying for the role by saying why she would make a good youth parliamentarian, Erika campaigned around the district and made 100 posters displaying information on how to vote and including a QR code scan linked to her online manifesto.
The campaigning paid off when Erika clocked up 193 votes – the second highest in Suffolk. She said: “I’ve always been interested in politics and would like to make a real difference.
“I would like to encourage more people to vote. I think there is generally a negative view of government.
“I would like to see the eXplore travel cards brought back and see funding for children with parents on low incomes to go on school trips.
“This role with give me some authority to get things changed. It requires seven hours a month with the local council, an annual sitting in Manchester for one weekend of the year and a convention in June at the House of Commons.”
Erika was supported in her campaign by Niki Spatchett, community liaison officer at EDF Energy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Ambassador to the school.