STUDENTS HEAD TO LIVERPOOL TO TACKLE EUROZONE CRISIS AND OLYMPIC LEGACY!
Over 140 students from 14 schools across the UK will be heading to Liverpool next week (July 5-8th, 2012) for the first of two National Sessions of the European Youth Parliament United Kingdom (EYPUK) to be held at Liverpool Hope University this year.
The schools will debate a range of topical issues of the day such as the current Eurozone crisis and the EU’s role in supporting a lasting legacy for London beyond the 2012 Olympics.
The culmination of the two days of debate will see one of the 14 schools selected to represent the UK at the 71st International Session of the European Youth Parliament (EYP) in Amsterdam in November.
Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change and Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger will be joined by other local civic dignatories to formally welcome delegates to the city at the opening ceremony on Friday 6th July.
Over 140 young people aged 16 and 17 year olds are coming together from across the U.K. to discuss and reach a consensus on issues affecting them and the European Community as a whole.
The session involves a wide-range of activities, from committee work and the General Assembly to team-building and even a fancy dress party all aimed at helping delegates build confidence and new skills in debating.
Mike Leyland, Chair of the EYPUK Board, said: “We are delighted to be holding this year’s National Sessions in Liverpool where our own head office is based and are looking forward to some very lively debates.
“Given that the Eurozone crisis is causing people to question every aspect of the European project it will be very interesting to hear what young people think the Europe of the future will look like.”
Students raise concerns to ex-MP Currie
Students from across Liverpool met a panel of experts, including former government minister and ‘Strictly Come Dancing Star’ Edwina Currie, to talk about their concerns at a European seminar.
The ‘EurVoice’ event, held by the European Youth Parliament UK (EYPUK) in the Liverpool Town Hall this week, drew an impressive group of pupils, ranging from years 7-11 from six different schools in the city.
Former MP Mrs Currie, who was born in Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “I thought it was brilliant. It’s great to meet young people. They’re still in school and they’re very good. They fought their corner.”
Andrea Penketh, Deputy Head at St. Margaret’s school in Aigburth, explained: “This is the first time we’ve had our students involved in ‘EurVoice’. The kids really like to participate in these sorts of events.”
For the first half of the programme, students were divided into groups headed by volunteers from across the country and they discussed five different topics: how the youth of today can be engaged; if the proposed rises in public transport fairs are unfair; the importance of healthy eating; if media has a negative effect on young children; and how important Europe is in shaping the lives of young people.
The first ‘EurVoice’ in Liverpool was held at the Liner Hotel in 2007. Mike Leyland, who is on the EYPUK Board of Trustees, and the event organiser, JMU Journalism: “This is aimed at state schools, basically making it more accessible. European Youth Parliament sounds a bit grandiose. This is a bit more open and less stuffy.”
This is one of six similar events that will be held across the country in places like the Houses of Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish
Parliament among others.
“The main aim of these events is to improve conversational skills and to discuss issues on a local, national and international level,” Mr Leyland added.
The second half of the programme was a question and answer session where the chosen panel members answered students’ queries on the topics
The four guests were Edwina Currie, Malcolm Kennedy, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport at Liverpool City Council, Liverpool’s youngest ever councillor, 18-year-old Jake Morrison, and Liverpool Echo education reporter Ben Turner.
Two students took a few moments between the session to make a small presentation on the negative impact of media on the youth, finishing it on a lighter note with a clip of Edwina on Strictly Come Dancing.
When one student asked if they thought it was unfair that after events like the August riots, the media portrayed all young people in a bad light, Mrs Currie said: “I think you’re reading it all wrong. It’s not about all young people. Don’t absorb other people’s guilt. You’re not guilty.”
On the subject of diet, one student suggested that a tax be imposed to discourage people from unhealthier food options as healthy food was thought to be expensive.
To this, Mrs Currie answered: “I was a Minister in the Department of Health and we were concerned with the rapid increase of obesity in children, but it’s not just about the food. There are other things you can do, like exercising and not smoking and not drinking too much. How many of you walk to school? You can eat whatever you want as long as you exercise.
“It’s a total waste of public money if you just use buses and complain about food.”
Mr Kennedy agreed, saying: “Not exercising is a part of the problem. Take an interest in learning something new. Often, the healthiest food we eat is what we cook, so learn to cook for yourself.”
City-born MP Edwina Currie faces grilling at Liverpool youth conference to tackle riots and big issues
Around 100 pupils from across Merseyside are to grill a panel of experts as part of a European Youth Parliament UK (EYPUK) event.
The aim is designed to encourage state school teenagers to debate big issues.
Their views will also be fed into the local and Europe-wide decision-making process.
The teenagers, aged 14 to 18, who have been selected from the city council-backed Liverpool Schools’ Parliament and pupil-led school councils from across Merseyside, will devise their questions with help from EYPUK educational foundation officials.
They will then stage their own Question Time-style session, quizzing a top table of panellists including Mrs Currie at the Eur Voice event at Liverpool Town Hall on October 19.
The former pupil of Wavertree’s Mosspits Lane primary school said it was “wonderful” that young people “have a voice”.
She added: “They do have a voice and it would be great if the young people go on to play a part in civic society, whether that is as a politician or just taking an interest.
“The biggest enemy of democracy is apathy and by engaging citizens and young people you can change society and make it healthy and vibrant.”
Organisers predict anything from school bus pass cuts to the recent rioting on the streets of Liverpool and across the country will be among key areas of debate.
And the former Conservative health minister, a respected broadcaster and writer, added: “With the recent trouble in Liverpool and elsewhere we have heard how young people need this and need that. Well I believe in personal responsibility and they should ask what they can do not what we should do for them.”
Other confirmed panellists include Liverpool Council leader Cllr Joe Anderson, ECHO education reporter Ben Turner and director of Garston-based Can Cook cookery school, Robbie Davison.