This year, we’re delighted to be supporting ‘Welcome to Your Vote Week 2024’, a national campaign run by the Electoral Commission, to support young people in getting the knowledge they need to feel confident to vote and get involved in democracy.
The theme of this year’s campaign, which runs from Monday 29 January to Sunday 4 February, is ‘Your Voice Matters’ which acknowledges that everyone has a voice that matters, and we can all make an impact on the issues important to us by getting involved in democracy – whatever our age.
We want to make sure that young people and our future generations across Barnsley have their voices heard and the opportunity to make an impact on the things important to them. This campaign will help to equip them with the knowledge they need to use their voices and influence decisions that will affect their future.
To help achieve this, we’re reaching out to schools, colleges, teachers and youth leaders to jump on board and support the campaign by delivering education sessions to their students. The Electoral Commission has developed a whole host of curriculum-mapped educational resources aimed at KS3/KS4, allowing educators to deliver an unbiased and accurate lesson or activity. Sessions range from lesson plans and assemblies to short activities and quizzes, so the sessions can be used flexibly to fit in with the time available.
These resources can be accessed all year round, but Welcome to Your Vote is a great opportunity to start the conversation with young people and inspire them to get their voices heard.
Here are our top five ideas to kick-start the week:
- Hold a Democracy Day in your setting with a range of activities and challenges such as developing their own ‘party’ including a manifesto and election campaign.
- If young people are 16 years plus in your setting, hold a voter registration drive and help them register to vote.
- Invite a local councillor into your setting for a question-and-answer session.
- Set up a debating panel to challenge various issues and scenarios.
- Hold a real vote in your school or youth group which will make a real impact and that the young people may have strong views on. You could even set up a polling station.
As well as teachers and educators, we would also encourage parents and carers to encourage their children to embrace democracy and get their voice heard – even if this is just encouragement to register to vote or to support them to vote on election day. Find out more on the elections page of our website.
Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Core Services, said: “I am delighted to hear that we’re supporting Welcome to Your Vote week this year. It is so important that our future generations understand democracy and have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions, as well as the confidence to get involved. I hope this year’s theme, Your Voice Matters, will empower; inspire, and motivate our future generations by knowing that every voice, and every vote, matters and can make a difference.
“I really would urge schools; colleges and any organisation working with young people to incorporate some of the educational material into their lessons over the coming weeks. It doesn’t matter what subject area it is, these resources help to incorporate it across the curriculum. Don’t forget to share with us what you get up to during the week.”