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Sofia is elected for the second year running as Deputy in British Youth Council

Sofia. Year 12, was shortlisted earlier this year to represent students across Plymouth in this year's Youth Parliament. Voting took place in schools across the city, and we are delighted to announce that Sofia has been elected as a Deputy Member of the local British Youth Council for the second year in a row!

Sofia's campaign this year was regarding 'Tackling violence against young women' and she will form part of the 'Make Your Mark' National Youth Parliament where topics are selected and debated by the members in the House of Commons Chamber, where they also vote on future campaigns. 
We caught up with Sofia to discuss her journey so far and what are her goals for her campaign this year:

I was inspired by the strides that we have made in Youth Parliament over the past 12 months, in campaigning for women's safety, and I chose to launch a similar campaign this year to push the momentum on this subject further. The focus has shifted and there is still much to do to tackle violence against young women, which is a subject I feel very passionate about. 

Last year I led on a series of successful campaigns:


We have been working with this company on a multimedia campaign which has a focus on reporting nude images online without consent.

It has been such a great experience to be part of this production and the campaign will be ready to launch later this year. 

School Workshops

I have been part of the city wide questionnaire that secondary school students across the South West took part in. It was known as the 'Girls Take Over' campaign and workshops were held to promote the roles that are generically male dominated.

This was a lot of fun and inspiring to see so many young women thrive and then consider these roles as a potential career path. 

The Purple Help Points. 

This is a super exciting project that has seen 'Purple Help Stations' being put up around the streets of Plymouth. They are located in public places where groups tend to congregate, for example, Mutley Plain, the City Centre, North Hill and the Barbican.

The idea is that if you are feeling vulnerable or uncomfortable in your environment then you can press the button on the Purple Help Station and the CCTV in the area will be alerted. It doesn't mean the police will come screeching around the corner, or is a replacement to calling the police, however, it will give members of the public confidence in knowing that 'someone' is watching and recording a situation should it unfold. 

My goals this year:

  • Promote safer places in Plymouth, getting young people’s views on the new purple help points

  • Create workshops to improve awareness and understanding of how we can help ourselves and others

  • Work with MP’s and councillors to encourage the implementation of young people ideas

Being part of the Youth Parliament and becoming a member of the British Youth Council has had such a positive impact on me as a person and for the students I represent. I felt I was very shy when I started my journey (as a passionate, but nervous Year 7!), however, collaborating ideas and speaking with others with similar interests really helped my confidence and inspired me to want to 'make a difference'. And the best part is, being in Youth Parliament really means that you can make a difference!

This year has been a whirlwind of events that I have been part of, here are just a few that were real highlights:

  • Presenting a speech at the South West Women's Awards
  • Collaborating with the British Youth Council members from across the South West on campaigns and workshops
  • Sitting on the panel with the Lord Mayor on help and support for young women
  • Being part of the 300 women in politics

Youth Parliament is A-Political. That means that you do not need to have any political knowledge to be part of the Youth Parliament. You just have to be passionate about an idea and want to make a difference and be heard. 

The Youth cabinet meet up every Wednesday and is open to 11-18 year olds. Attending a couple of these meet up's is a great way to get a feel for it and there is no commitment to attend. This is exactly how I started my journey and I would encourage any fellow students to come along and 'get the bug' for making a change.