The views and experiences of young people in care will be represented in the new Welsh Youth Parliament thanks to the involvement of leading youth advocacy charity, the National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS).

NYAS Cymru has been officially announced as a Welsh Youth Parliament partner organisation, meaning the rights-based charity will help to identify a young parliamentary Member who can successfully represent the voice of young people in care across Wales.

The charity, which operates across England and Wales, has been closely involved in the National Assembly for Wales consultations leading up to the launch of the Welsh Youth Parliament, putting young people forward for focus groups and providing strategic input to help ensure a parliament that demonstrates inclusion and diversity.

Having been successful in working with the National Assembly for Wales to pave the way for the youth parliament to include young people with care experience, NYAS Cymru will support the successful candidate to be actively involved in the parliamentary process, helping to shape a Government that listens to and acts on the views of young people.

In all, the Welsh Youth Parliament will comprise 60 young Members aged 11-18. Voting will take place in November to elect 40 of the Members, with the remaining 20 being identified by representative organisations like NYAS Cymru, to ensure the engagement of all young people across Wales.

The Welsh Youth Parliament is intended to empower young people to identify, raise awareness of and debate the issues they regard as important. The youth parliament will work closely with the National Assembly for Wales, pushing for change with policy-makers on behalf of young people across Wales. It will meet for the first-time next February, following the announcement of election results this December.

Commenting on NYAS’ involvement, Director of NYAS Cymru, Sharon Lovell said, “We’re overjoyed to be playing a role in the establishment of this much-needed youth parliament for Wales. We are confident the parliament will provide invaluable steer to our decision-makers when it comes to policies and services that affect young people in Wales and it is fantastic to know that the experiences and opinions of young people in care will be properly represented. We will work hard to encourage young people with care experience to engage with their parliamentary member and to make their voices heard.”

Involvement with the Welsh Youth Parliament is the latest endeavour from NYAS to secure an influential platform for future generations. Earlier this year, the charity was instrumental in organising the first ever national gender equality conference dedicated to young people in Wales. The event, attended by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, was designed to give future generations the opportunity to share their views on gender equality in front of key decision makers, in a bid to help shape a fairer and more equal nation.