Young people from West Sussex were recognised for encouraging fellow youngsters to vote in this year’s West Sussex Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament elections.
More than 23,000 votes were cast at 81 schools and youth organisations in the county-wide elections, which set a new record for West Sussex.
Democracy Awards were presented to young people from 21 schools and organisations at Portcullis House in London hosted by East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton.
He and Precious Otor, chairman of the West Sussex Youth Cabinet, presented the awards.
Precious said: “The Democracy Awards provide an opportunity for us, as young people, to come together and celebrate the individual successes experienced in our schools, and it pleases me to see schools having up to 100 per cent attendance rates of students voting.
“I think this proves how willing we, as young people, are to having a say in matters and that young people, when properly engaged, can be a force to reckon with.”
During the ceremony, some of the young people gave presentations about how they inspired and encouraged fellow students to vote.
Mr Loughton said: “It was great to see so many young people from West Sussex fired-up about fighting elections and engaging in the democratic process.
“The West Sussex Democracy Awards have become something of a tradition now and I am honoured to have been able to host them again in Parliament.
“The young people spoke passionately about how they had got their friends and school mates involved in the elections and in one case the school had resulted in a 100% turnout of eligible voters.
“Clearly adult politicians could learn a thing or two from these young democrats and it again goes to underline why we should listen to the voices of young people and those voices should certainly be heard in the heart of our democratic system, in the House of Commons itself.”
Peter Evans, WSCC’s cabinet member for children – start of life, added: “The Democracy Awards reflect the huge amount of work carried out by young people, teachers and youth workers to encourage students to vote as an electorate – and to stand as candidates.
“To see such a high turnout of young people, voting in their elections, is truly inspiring.
“It shows that the commitment to young people’s involvement in the democratic process is higher than ever here in West Sussex.”
“We’re committed further to continue working with all young people, to hear their views and take note of their ideas and suggestions.”
Winners of the Gold awards were: Adur & Worthing Youth Council, Burgess Hill School for Girls, Chichester High School for Boys, Ingfield Manor School, Oakmeeds Community College, St Anthony’s School, St Margaret’s School, St Philip Howard Catholic High School, St Wilfrids Secondary School, Summerlea School, The Academy Selsey, The Towers Convent School, and the Worth School.
Silver award winners were: 4th Worth Scout Group, Bourne Community College, Christ’s Hospital, Durrington High School, Electric Storm Youth, Holy Trinity CofE Secondary School, Oakgrove College, Oriel High School, Our Lady of Sion, Sackville School, Shoreham College, Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Steyning Grammar School (Upper and Lower), Tanbridge House School, WSAPC Chichester, WSAPC Crawley, and WSAPC Lancing.
Bronze award winners were: Davison CofE High School, Felpham Community College, Fordwater School, Ifield Community College, HYPER, Manor Green College, Shoreham Academy, The Angmering School, Woodlands Meed School, Worthing High School, WSAPC Littlehampton, and WSAPC Worthing.
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