Young people from schools across Milton Keynes came together to attend a youth conference which aimed to discuss issues that affect the city and provide ideas and feedback through question and debate in order to create practical and sustainable solutions.
Workshops made up the majority of the conference in July at the Christian Centre in Oldbrook and enabled young people to give feedback on issues such as the Milton Keynes Museum Expansion Project, the future of our city’s healthcare services, how it will grow in the coming years and how to achieve zero carbon in this city.
Roz Mascarenhas, Youth Participation Worker at Milton Keynes Council and organiser of the conference said: “These young people are the future of Milton Keynes and it has been brilliant to see them being so positive about the place they live in.
“However they are also keen to make it even better. I have been speaking to the people who have run the workshops today and they have been given some fantastic ideas and feedback from the young people on the issues raised.”
The workshops were followed by a question and answer session with a panel which included Mayor Cllr Subhan Shafiq, Cllr Sarah Betteley, Cllr Derek Eastman, Cllr Geetha Morla, Ged Rowney – Interim Director of Children’s Services, and Lizzie Beale – Member of Youth Parliament.
Some of the questions presented to the panel included; “Why is recycling not enforced in schools?” “Why have bus prices gone up?” and “What will you do to make Milton Keynes a better place for us all?”
At the end of the session, Cllr Eastman noted that there had not been enough time to answer all the young people’s questions and encouraged them to email councillors instead.
Information stands from various external organisations were present for the young people to visit during the breaks and included the Thames Valley Police, the NHS, and Brook. At the end of the conference there was a raffle with prizes provided by local businesses such as Cineworld, Sainsbury’s and Safer:MK.
Lizzie Beale, Member of Youth Parliament was pleased to see that the event had been a success: “The MySayMK conference is an amazing platform for young people to be heard.
“Throughout the event it has been great to hear young people standing up for what they believe in by passionately scrutinising their local decision makers.
“The level of interest in standing in the upcoming youth elections was also very positive.”