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Giving young people a voice at the Senedd

21/11/2016

Sixth form pupils from six secondary schools across Wales will give Cardiff Bay politicians a run for their money this week, as they take part in their own political debate at The Senedd.

The youngsters will voice their opinions on various political topics and issues as part of an S4C scheme, together with the channel's current affairs series Hacio. The whole debate will be shown exclusively on the Hacio website on s4c.cymru

During the unforgettable experiences, the sixth form students will argue their case against a handful of Assembly Members, at Siambr Hywel at Tŷ Hywel on Tuesday 22 November, with topics ranging from Brexit, to students' use of social media.

The six schools taking part are Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera in the Swansea Valley, Ysgol Gyfun Creuddyn in Llandudno, Ysgol Bro Teifi in Llandysul, Ysgol Uwchradd Tryfan in Bangor, Ysgol Gyfun Plasmawr in Cardiff, Ysgol Gyfun y Cymer in Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones has sponsored the event at the Senedd, which is held in partnership between S4C, The National Assembly and ITV Cymru. The scheme is now in its fourth year.

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones says: "It's a pleasure to welcome Hacio and students from across Wales to the Senedd again this year to discuss Brexit and other issues that directly influence their lives; like education, housing and health. Last week, I announced my intention to establish a Youth Parliament which will enable youngsters to participate in regular discussions on current topics; to ensure that their voices are heard and can influence relevant legislations. I hope this event offers an opportunity for those present to consider how they would like the Youth Parliament to develop before we hold a full consultation with the children and young people of Wales next year."

The debate at The Senedd is hosted by Hacio, S4C's current affairs series for young people, and aims to encourage more youngsters to engage with politics. The Hacio'n Holi scheme gives the students hands on experience in order to develop their debating skills, including discussions with leading figures in Wales. The debate at the Senedd rounds off a tour where the Hacio team visited all six schools to hold individual discussions with the pupils.

In addition to the Senedd debate, the pupils will also quiz First Minister Carwyn Jones as part of a special edition of the current affairs series Hacio, shown on S4C on Thursday, 24 November.

Hacio presenter Siôn Jenkins feels that the Hacio'n Holi scheme, now in its fourth year, has given a fantastic stage for young people to give their views on various topics. Siôn will chair the session at the Senedd, alongside his Hacio co-presenters Glesni Euros and Guto Llywelyn.

"The political situation around the world is so volatile at the moment, and it's important that young people are able to form and voice their opinions, as well as appreciate the views of others. It's our duty on Hacio'n Holi to provide a platform for young people in Wales to have their say on the issues that affect them, and to challenge those who are responsible for creating problems. On hearing these issues, I hope that those who have any authority or influence will sit up, listen and even act upon it.

"There's a lack of engagement between young people and the political system. To put it simply, if politicians continue to ignore young people, then their relationship will never improve, and Wales will miss out. Politicians aren't aware of how much young people know and understand about Welsh politics."

Sioned Wyn Roberts, S4C Children and Young People's Commissioner says:

"It's important that Hacio'n Holi gives a voice to young people's views on issues around Wales; a voice that is often ignored by society. It's a pleasure to work in partnership with ITV Cymru and the National Assembly for Wales to raise awareness amongst young people about politics and democracy. I'm sure we'll hear very interesting discussions at The Senedd and discover the next generation of politicians."

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