Portsmouth Youth Parliament is opening its doors for new members to kickstart 2016.
The group, which meets once a month, exists to ensure that 11 to 19-year-olds in Portsmouth are listened to by the council and other organisations.
Sayeeda Nur, chair of Portsmouth Youth Parliament, said: ‘The youth parliament is a great way to get involved in the city and meet new people.
‘As a member and now chair, I’ve not only grown in confidence but been given opportunities to meet with councillors and have my say on what happens in the city.
‘I’m glad I got involved in the youth parliament and would encourage others to get involved. Everyone is really friendly. Getting involved in something new can be scary but our members are very welcoming.’
The organisation also has the support of several senior politicians, both in Ports-mouth and nationally.
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘The youth parliament initiative has encouraged young people across the city to get involved in shaping their community and their country. It has also been incredibly helpful in getting the concerns of this age group up the political agenda. Well done to all those who have taken part.’
Speaking during the last parliament, John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, said: ‘The value of UK Youth Parliament is that you are the best known, most visible and most representative organised mechanism, to transmit the wishes, aspirations and policy preferences to the Government of the day.
‘You are socially, culturally, ethnically more diverse than any parliament I have seen. You do not merely preach equality, diversity and inclusivity – you practice diversity, equality and inclusivity.
‘If we in Parliament wanted to be respected by young people we must respect young people. Respect is a two-way street.’
Anyone interested in joining Portsmouth Youth Parliament can find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.