A new year, and a new chapter...

A new year, and a new chapter. For us as staff of the Welsh Youth Parliament, this is a brand-new chapter in our history, and a chapter that you, the young people of Wales, will help us to write.

After years of consultation and discussion and a LOT of hard work, we are now just days away from meeting the first-ever Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament at regional meetings across Wales.

You will probably have already heard, but 60 Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament were returned in an online election held in November. These 60 Members will serve for a term of two years, and during the next two years, they will meet all together three time as one big group.

Between these meetings, we will meet Members in their regions and we will also hold regional events – these will be an opportunity to meet many more young people who are so passionate about Wales and the Youth Parliament!

The first meetings will take place over the next two  weekends, and we are really excited about meeting so many Members for the first time. We’ll have plenty to do during the day, but without doubt, the most important thing is that we’ll get to know these young people, congratulate them, and welcome them properly into the Welsh Youth Parliament team.

Some of the Welsh Youth Parliament staff who have been meeting young people across Wales over the past year.

Some of the Welsh Youth Parliament staff who have been meeting young people across Wales over the past year.

I hope that by the end of the regional meeting, the Members will be ready for the first big meeting, to be held in Cardiff-Bay during February’s weekend residency, and the first plenary in the main Siambr chaired by the Assembly’s Llywydd, Elin Jones AM.

To prepare everyone for the big event, the regional meeting will include sessions to introduce the Assembly and the Welsh Youth Parliament, there will be training on how to use the web and social media, and a session to prepare Members for speaking publicly in the Siambr for the first time. (Don’t worry – there would be plenty of opportunities between sessions to socialise and get to know your fellow Members!)

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM who will chair the first Youth Parliament meeting next month.

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM who will chair the first Youth Parliament meeting next month.

We must thank EVERYONE who has helped to steer the Welsh Youth Parliament to this point, but remember, the journey is far from over! The Members have all been elected, but it is you who will decide what they debate.

For almost a year, we as a team have been asking young people across Wales which issues matter to them and their area – we had responses from over 2,000 young people at shows, Eisteddfodau, events, education sessions, and at the Senedd itself. Having read all the responses, and the issues highlighted by the 490 young people who stood as candidates in the election, we set about arranging the issues into categories and putting them in a questionnaire.

It is now time for you to have your say once more. What are the issues that are important to you was young people? What you like to see the Welsh Youth Parliament working towards over the next two years? There is a link for you to complete questionnaire the end of blog. If we don’t hear from you, nothing will change.

Over the past year, we’ve been asking young people across Wales which issues matter most to them.

Over the past year, we’ve been asking young people across Wales which issues matter most to them.

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? Some of you may have broken them already! But for us as a team, we are determined to fulfil our pledge, which is to listen to the voices of the young people of Wales and ensure that your voice is at the heart of decisions made here in our Senedd.

So, let’s work together to make the story of the Welsh Youth Parliament of 2019 one that’s worth reading.