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Youth Vote Matters for the Nation

May 29, 2015

SHANNON, 18, is a young person staying in YMCA Humber accommodation, in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire.

She voted in the 2015 General Election for the first time and says it’s now more important than ever that young people get involved in politics.

  • I feel better about myself because I got involved in politics for the first time.
  • Jobs and apprenticeships are what matter most to young people in my area.
  • If it wasn’t for YMCA Humber, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I wouldn’t be so engaged in politics.
  • Politics isn’t about shouting at each other; it’s about making a difference to people’s lives.

I voted yesterday for the first time in a General Election. Alongside two members of YMCA staff and other clients from my hostel, I walked down to the polling centre and made my vote.

It was really quiet when I got there and really easy to do. But by just being there, I feel I made a difference. I voted because I wanted to do it for the country and to help young people get jobs, traineeships and apprenticeships. These are the things that are important to young people in my area and I feel better about myself after casting my vote.

Not enough young people my age are involved in politics but their votes matter just as much, if not more, than those of adults. If more of us voted, politicians would have to listen us and the things we needed to happen would get done.

I moved into YMCA accommodation in November after a falling out with my family. I’m not proud with how I acted at the time and I know I could have done things better but I’m different person now. I’m settled and YMCA Humber has helped me hugely. I know it’s a cliché, but I don’t know where I would be now without them.

I’ve finished college and I’m now looking for a job or an apprenticeship in health and beauty but they’re so hard to find and that’s what needs to change. That’s why I got involved and why I voted yesterday, even though I was nervous walking to the polling station: it had to count.

A lot of kids my age are getting into trouble and going to prison because they haven’t got jobs and they’ve got nothing to do. Yes, they need to do get off their bums and do things for themselves but there needs to be a bigger reason to do this: they need jobs and opportunities.

I went to a hustings event a few weeks ago and got to see some of the political candidates speak. However, I didn’t really like what I saw because it seemed like people were just shouting at each other and that doesn’t solve anything. What I think does solve problems is voting for who you believe will make a difference. I’m really interested in what happens in the next few days and I hope those in charge will put young people at the centre of their policies.

Read our manifesto here in which we ask for the voting age to fall to 16. Do you agree? Let us know what you think on Twitter and Facebook.