"We, young people, are the future of our community and the future of our country."

Think about voting and give our generation a voice.

Hello, my name is Ffion Hâf Jones. I'm a year 13 pupil at Ysgol Llanhari, Rhondda Cynon Taf and I was lucky enough to spend a few days on work experience at the Assembly in Cardiff Bay over the summer. While I was there, I discovered that a youth parliament was to be established for the first time this year.

The Youth Parliament will offer 11-17 year olds a great opportunity to be part of the Welsh Assembly and express their views on things that they think really need improving. There will be 60 seats available, a seat for one young person from each constituency in Wales. Young people from each constituency will decide who they want to represent them as a member of the Youth Parliament. 

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In the election in November, I will vote to elect someone to represent me and my area. Voting at this election is very important to me as I have not had the opportunity to vote before. I receive an education, pay VAT when buying items in shops, and have even started to drive but I have not had a voice in the way these things work and the way the rules are decided.

We, young people, are the future of our community and the future of our country. It is therefore very important that we can express our views on decisions that will certainly affect the future in which we will be a part.

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My local area, Rhondda Cynon Taf, is a community where neighbours are very close to each other, everyone is kind and get along most of the time. Even so, I have noticed some problems in my area which affect us, the young people who live there.

The lack of extra-curricular activities is a major problem. Outside school, there are hardly any activities in which we can participate. Not just sports but activities related to performance or art. We need all kinds of activities to be available so that children have things to do and do not stay in their houses doing nothing.

To be honest, too many children stay at home playing a lot of stupid games because they have nothing else to do. This is not beneficial to their mental health and wellbeing. Also, instead of taking part in extra-curricular activities, many young people are out on the street, drinking under age because they are bored doing nothing.

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In my view, Mental Health is also a big problem among young people in the area. There isn’t enough help and support available to them. If help was available, fewer children would need to suffer in silence. I have also realized that Welshness is important and needs to be strengthened. Young people in the area do not walk down the street speaking Welsh together because they choose not to do so.

Think about voting for a member of the Youth Parliament in your area as this could change your life and your future and give our generation a voice. It is easy to register to vote and you can do this online. Maybe someone you know is standing or you might want to stand yourself. I'm definitely going to take advantage of this great opportunity to cast a vote!