On Tuesday 14 April Transform’s ‘Your vote, your choice’ event was held at The Crescent in Woking.
‘Your vote, your choice’ was open to young people aged 16 to 30, who live with Transform in Woking and nearby areas. The event was designed to encourage young people to register to vote and to take part in the upcoming General Election.
The event was attended by three of the parliamentary candidates for Woking: Jonathan Lord (Conservative Party), Jill Rawling (Labour Party) and Chris Took (Liberal Democrats). Each candidate gave a brief speech explaining their party’s policies. The young people then had the chance to ask each politician about the issues that affect them, with topics including the cost of living, the impact of austerity, drugs and legal highs, welfare benefits, and the lack of employment opportunities for younger people.
The event was organised by our Supported Housing Workers at The Crescent, Ràna King and Karen Forshaw. Talking about what they hoped to achieve with the event, Ràna said:
“The pressures on young people today are immense, with high housing costs, reduced welfare benefits, and huge competition for jobs. The young people we support at Transform have borne the brunt of these issues, as all have previously ended up homeless or in housing crisis. We wanted to help our young people to understand how politics affects their lives.”
According to a YouGov poll for independent think tank British Future, only one-third of young people plan to vote in the 2015 election. Karen explained that the lack of engagement among young people played a big part in why she decided to organise the event:
“In the run up to the General Election, we have been trying to encourage our clients to vote. So many young people said to me they weren’t interested in voting – and one young person said she would vote for whoever her sister told her to vote for! So we organised this event to help young people understand how politics influences them and to encourage them to vote.”
Around 20 young people attended the event, including Vince Wyatt, who said:
“It’s been a really informative afternoon. I’m still undecided who I will vote for but it’s given me something to think about. I will definitely vote but I now realise I need to look into the policies more so I can make an informed decision.”
The deadline to register to vote in the general election is Monday 20 April 2015. You can register online to vote at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote