Young Cumbrians working together in new Youth Parliament

On 12th February Cumbria’s newly formed Youth Parliament met for the first time to discuss the issues that young people across the County feel most strongly about:  transport, employment, and leisure – and will be working on action plans over next few months together with Elected Members from each Borough and Cumbria County Council.

The Youth Parliament is one of the opportunities for young people to engage with the governance of their own community under the Youth Participation contract commissioned by Cumbria County Council and led by Inspira, working with the Brathay Trust.

“It is important that young people involve themselves in their communities and have a voice which is heard concerning issues and problems they face,” says Mark Bowman, CE of Inspira.

“The Youth parliament is an ideal way for young people to engage with decision makers and be involved in solutions which affect them and their peers.”.

The first meeting was seen as a success in Cumbria County Council:

“Good to see so many young Cumbrians fired up with enthusiasm over issues that will impact on everyone.  I hope that they will continue to be involved in local and national politics knowing that speaking out really can make a difference.”, Cllr Val Tarbitt, Cumbria County Council.

Will Adams is one of the young people representing Furness, and had this to report:

“Cumbria Youth Parliament is a fantastic way for young people from Furness to have their views heard even higher up than our local borough councils. As a local youth council, if we believe a problem may represent young people’s views on a bigger scale, we can take the idea to Youth Parliament and ask other councils from across Cumbria.

In the future, we see Cumbria Youth Parliament as being an essential part of young people’s lives, and an important way to make ideas known on a county level.”

Also on the agenda for the Cumbria Youth Parliament is hosting the regional North West group of County Youth Parliaments – Youthforia – being held in Cumbria for the very first time on the 12th to 14th April.  Youthforia gives young people a voice at regional level as well as planning and leading community projects – these have in the past fed into Central Government policy, such as the new school nurse model for schools which became the basis for the new school health model nationally and was described as “gold standard” by the Department of Health.

In time, the Cumbria Youth Parliament also hopes to send three of their members to join other representatives from the whole country at the National Youth Parliament in Westminster.

In the meantime, the Youth Parliament will be meeting again soon, and the Brathay Trust and What’s On websites have more details on the next meetings for local youth forums and Councils in each Borough:, and