Alfie Aims To Be Strong Voice

Alfie Hallett, elected member of the Youth Parliament.

Improved mental health services for young people will be highlighted by a new member of the Youth Parliament.

Alfie Hallett (14), in Year 10 at Healing School, was elected to represent North East Lincolnshire recently and is determined to make his mark in his year in office.

More than 3,000 young people voted in schools from across the area in the election. Alfie's school had the biggest turn-out of voters at 49 percent. He will be joined in the Youth Parliament by Salema Khatun from Louth's King Edward VI Grammar School.

Alfie was, initially, "shocked and speechless" when he heard the result. Youth Parliaments are elected across the country to give young people a voice.

"I was really pleased to be elected," he said.

"I stood for Youth Parliament because I think it is important that young people in the region have the opportunity to voice their opinions and have someone to represent them. I also really like to help people."

He campaigned for votes on three main issues. As well as wanting to see improved mental health services for young people, Alfie also wants to secure better work experience opportunities and help young people earn a realistic living wage.

"These are important issues for young people and there is room for improvement with all of them," Alfie said.

He is looking forward to the year ahead.

"The new position will give me plenty of new experiences. I'm excited about this and really looking forward to visiting other schools, meeting youth groups and gaining further experience.

"The thing I'm most excited about is that in November I will travel to London and visit the Houses of Parliament.

"There, I will have the opportunity to put forward the policies that are important to young people.

"But I'm unsure who I'll meet because of the forthcoming General Election."

Alfie lives with parents Susan and Neil Hallett on the Wybers Wood estate in Grimsby. They are "very proud" of his new appointment.

He describes himself as a "normal teenager" and "quite a relaxed individual" in his spare time.

He is interested in modern technology and finds Apple's co-founder and former chief executive officer, the late Steve Jobs, a particular inspiration.

"I am particularly interested in the ideology of the Apple brand and fascinated by the development of its products," Alfie said.

Healing School Principal Mark Knapton was pleased Alfie was elected and also that his school had recorded the highest turn-out.

"We encourage our young people to get involved and stress the importance of having a voice and using it," he said. "We have a strong student council here as a result.

"We look forward to supporting Alfie in his year in office and wish him luck in the role."

Grimsby Telegraph - Thursday 12th February 2015