MORE than 25,000 Hampshire youngsters took part in the UK's largest youth consultation, Make Your Mark, prioritising Climate Change and the Environment for 2024.

The participants, aged 11 to 18, selected campaign priorities for young politicians over the next two years.

The most pressing issue among the shortlisted ten was Climate Change, topping the Hampshire vote since 2019. Health and wellbeing came second countywide but took the lead nationally.

Crime and safety also emerged as significant concerns for Hampshire and UK-wide youths. Nationally, over half a million individuals voted, with Hampshire accruing the second-highest count.

Hampshire Youth Parliament is extending its climate campaign, launching the third Hampshire Climate Conference in September.

Nurturing partnership with Winchester College and the Final Straw Foundation, the conference invites pupils countywide to attend keynote speeches and learn through engaging, climate-oriented workshops.

Cllr Steve Forster, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for education, said: "I am particularly pleased that our young people and their representatives on the Youth Parliament have yet again placed climate change at the heart of their campaigning, because it is the single most important issue facing us over the coming years, as reflected in the County Council’s Climate Change Strategy. 

"Our Youth Parliamentarians already play a key role in our Climate Change Expert Stakeholder Forum, which works with us to ensure our commitments and targets are delivered. Their own campaign against plastic waste has received national attention and they lead the way in engaging school pupils on the issue as one of the partners behind the annual Hampshire Climate Conference for schools. I look forward to supporting them over the next two years to develop their campaigning further."

Olivia, member of Youth Parliament for North East Hampshire, said: "The results of Make Your Mark have made the worries and concerns of our youth undoubtedly clear. It is important for the youth to be heard, but so much more important now moving forward to act accordingly to remedy their worries for the future and present."