THE schoolgirl who won a landslide election victory to become Portsmouth’s youth MP says she won’t let the city down.
Kay Sutherland scooped more than 31 per cent of votes cast for the job of Member of Youth Parliament – making her the chief spokeswoman for some 48,000 youngsters in our city.
The 15-year-old Admiral Lord Nelson student admitted she was stunned with the result – the city’s best ever – but said it made her even more determined to make a difference.
And with issues like youth unemployment, free leisure facilities and better outdoor provision, she has her work cut out for her.
Speaking from her home in Aylen Road, Copnor, she said: ‘I’m so surprised and honoured to have been picked out of eight strong candidates.
‘Knowing that so many young people in the city are behind me is amazing – I promise I won’t let them down.’
Kay said she’d like to see the Mountbatten Centre drop its one-off £2 charge for schoolchildren to use the swimming pool, and at the same time put more funds into youth clubs to offer free dance, football and singing activities.
She will also lobby the council for shelters in the city’s parks to encourage young people to enjoy the green spaces regardless of the weather. Her third big fight will be lobbying ministers to provide financial help to all students who want to go to college, regardless of their family income.
She said: ‘While apprenticeships are great, I’d hate to see students go down that route because they feel they need to make money straight away, rather than pursuing higher education and exploring other careers. And I’m passionate about young people having free access to sports and the arts. I can’t wait to get started.’
Kay and her deputy Sam Poole, 15, will now have the ear of the city council as well as that of central government.
She said: ‘I’m looking forward to visiting the House of Commons and putting Portsmouth’s youth voices on the agenda.’