Maheep Kaur, a pupil from Ark Charter Academy, has been chosen to champion young people in Portsmouth on a national stage.

The 15-year-old won the 2024 Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) elections, standing against three fellow members of Portsmouth Youth Cabinet.

As the city’s new MYP, Maheep will attend national debates, government consultations and training days, to amplify the issues affecting young people in Portsmouth. She will join around 300 other MYPs from across the country for a debate in the House of Commons, where the national campaign will be set for youth cabinets in every constituency.

As the MYP, Maheep will also lead Portsmouth’s youth cabinet, which is funded by Portsmouth County Council to represent the views of the city’s youth, and work with senior councillors to drive positive change.

Maheep, pictured front centre after being elected, said:

“I want to make change happen and the MYP elections are a great opportunity for young people to have a chance to push that change.

“Teenagers often get a bad name, but we have proven how much good we can bring to the community. I will use my position to advocate for young people who do not have a voice, particularly those struggling at home or school and those suffering with mental health issues.”

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, has championed the youth cabinet since its inception and seen it go from strength to strength.

Cllr Horton said:

“We want our youth cabinet, working alongside the Member of Youth Parliament, to be an authentic voice of young people in shaping their experiences in the city, through the work of the council and other decision makers.

“I have been both impressed and humbled by what this current youth cabinet has achieved in taking the big conversations around equalities, the environment and the world of work to the people with power. Huge congratulations to Maheep who will be a brilliant MYP.”

Portsmouth Youth Cabinet has achieved a great deal in the last two years.

Jo Morgan from Engendering Change said:

“It has been such a joy to facilitate the power of youth voice to embed meaningful and lasting change in Portsmouth. Their work with asylum seeking children, LGBTQ+ young people and youth groups across the city has shown the incredible things that can happen when young people are empowered to connect with the community. Their most recent project with Shaping Portsmouth, to create part-time job opportunities for teenagers has the potential to be transformative.”

Find out more about the youth cabinet: