Reports suggest that a huge 72 per cent of 18-24-year-olds turned out to vote in the recent election.
By going out and using their vote, young people have shown politicians that they must not be underestimated – they must have their voices heard.
Throughout this election, with all its twists and turns, we have heard very little about the needs of our children and young people.
The inescapable commercialisation of childhood, the insidious influence of social media, the ever-present risk of exploitation and the pressures on our children’s mental health all demand urgent attention.
Our new Government, whatever form that will take, needs to do more to confront the new and emerging challenges our children and young people face.
A significant step forward would be a cabinet-level Minister for Children and Families. Having such a role at the heart of Government raises the volume of children’s voices in decision-making and sends a clear message about where the priorities of our society lie.
As the results show, our young people will be watching – and voting.
Director, Barnardo’s East Region