What is the UK Youth Parliament? Polls close after students head to the polls

Isaac Codjoe (far right) raised the issue of knife crime in the House of Commons Picture: CONTRIBUTE

Isaac Codjoe (far right) raised the issue of knife crime in the House of Commons Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

School pupils across the county have headed for the polls as the race to fill the UK Youth Parliament gets into full swing.

Poppy Brown, 14, said she was inspired by her parents and young people like Greta Thunberg to run fo

Poppy Brown, 14, said she was inspired by her parents and young people like Greta Thunberg to run for parliament Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The youth parliament, which meets once a year at the House of Commons as well as locally, aims to engage young people between the age of 11-18 in politics.

The county is divided into three constituencies, Ipswich and Suffolk South, Waveney and Suffolk North, and Suffolk West.

Voting, which is held in schools, closed on March 7.

Currently holding the Ipswich seat is St Joseph's College student Isaac Codjoe, who raised the issue of knife crime in Ipswich in the Commons in November 2018. MORE: Ipswich youth MP brings Ipswich crime issue to parliament

Among those running for this year is 14-year-old Poppy Brown of Kesgrave High School, who said she was inspired to pursue a future in politics by her parents and teenage environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg.

She said she is "determined" to fight for better mental health services for children in the town: "There aren't enough mental health services and I think it is becoming a real problem for young people.

"Climate change is also an enormous issue and is one of the most important challenges facing my generation.

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"The issues have all been highlighted in school and we know what we need to do to see changes made, and I'd love to be the person representing the young people of Ipswich."

From as young as 12, Poppy has been speaking in assemblies to fellow high school and sixth form students about climate change and how the school can help make a difference.

She is also a part of the school council and volunteers as an eco representative.

Headteacher Nigel Burgoyne said: "She is a very passionate and determined student who has really gathered a lot of practical solutions and ideas for how we can help change the world for the better.

"She is a shining example of how our young people can be so passionate and determined to get involved in the world around them."

Also running in the election in Ipswich is 14-year-old Stowmarket High School pupil Shannon Peck, who also aims to tackle environmental issues, and Tanaquil Lu, who hopes to combat knife crime, homelessness and a lack of things to do for young people in the town.

The winners in the election are due to be announced on March 18.

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