Alok Sharma, Member of Parliament for Reading West, has today met with members of Reading Youth Cabinet to discuss their 2019 manifesto.
Reading Youth Council, supported by Brighter Futures for Children, are a group of elected representatives for the young people of Reading, who campaign on issues that have been highlighted both locally and nationally.
This year, Reading Youth Cabinet will focus on three campaigns: putting an end to knife crime, mental health awareness and tackling homelessness.
Zarah Khan, member of the Reading Youth Cabinet, contacted Alok last year to enlist his help for their campaigns. Since then, Alok has organised two follow-up meetings for the Youth Cabinet.
The first meeting took place in January, where Alok invited Thames Valley Police Area Commander, Superintendent Stan Gilmour, to meet with members of the Youth Cabinet to discuss knife crime in Reading.
Today’s meeting focused on mental health. At the meeting, members of the Youth Cabinet explained to Alok that they hope to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst young people in schools by making it something people talk about without stigma, and to reach out to schools to encourage them to engage with the project. Alok also invited Ria Patel, Assistant Psychologist at the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to join the meeting.
Members of the Youth Cabinet also explained that they are in the process of drafting a mental health survey which they hope to promote on social media.
Alok Sharma said: “We had a very useful meeting with the Youth Council and the whole Reading Youth Cabinet team are so impressive. They should be very proud of the difference they are making.”
Maurizio Cuttin, Deputy Member of Youth Parliament for Reading said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be welcomed by Alok Sharma MP to discuss Reading Youth Cabinet’s manifesto commitment to properly address mental health. It was a productive meeting, and I’m glad we agreed on an effective plan! Thanks Alok!”
Photo: Alok with members of Reading Youth Cabinet, Brighter Future for Children and Ria Patel