The voices of young people really matter and Sunderland Youth Parliament takes the responsibility to listen to and represent young people very seriously.

As a group of young people we have worked hard to develop ways to listen to more young people and to then meet regularly with Sunderland City Council and other organisations so that the voices of young people can be heard.

We are really pleased to say that we have been listened to and action has been taken, but the work continues as the responsibility of listening to and representing young people is not a one off piece of work but part of the process of Children's Services as well as local and national government.

The development of links with other city-wide groups of young people has strengthened Sunderland Youth Parliament, which has allowed us to build on the work that we are involved with.

Work in Sunderland has also linked with other young people through UK Youth Parliament.

During 2009 we have already engaged in a European Exchange to Montreul, France with Germany, Romania and Spain also taking part. The Exchange gave young people the opportunity to discuss what being a European Citizen means. In July, SYP attended the UKYP Annual Sitting, all elected members were Local, National and International and issues relating to young people were debated.  One of the issues raised was the 350.org Campaign, which is aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

In October 2009 we held our 5th Annual 'Young People's State of the City Debate', which we use to gather the views and opinions of young people from Sunderland. Another historic event took take place in October 2009, it was the first non-parliamentary debate in the House of Commons.

Further information about Sunderland Youth Parliament can be found by visiting the Sunderland Children's Trust website.