Hello, my name is Maisie Frost and I am the Member of Youth Parliament for North Devon. I was elected in February 2020, but unless you found my Youth Parliament Instagram (@myp_maisie) you probably haven’t heard anything from me since then. My job is to represent the young people in North Devon. And I hope that you feel that I am trying to do that. Always contact me if there is anything I should be doing better or that you want to see happening or even just for a chat! With COVID-19 and lockdown everything has been very different to how we expected and to be honest we have only just got used to it and worked out how we can work around it. It’s still a lot harder and we are all trying hard to find ways to continue working and taking action. I apologise for not updating and connecting sooner but hopefully this is the start of regular updates and connections with you guys- my constituents! I will try not to make this too long as I know no one can be bothered to read pages and pages of writing.
I am going to try to get one of these update documents out about every fortnight (the next ones will be shorter but as this is the first there is a lot to say) because I really want to make sure that everything I do is with you guys as much as possible and just keep you in the loop really!
Now onto what I have been doing! (this might be a bit list-y because I don’t want it too long!)
The climate emergency:
The national campaign is the climate crisis so our Devon-wide campaign is Greener Devon which is all about how we can make Devon greener in terms of tackling the climate emergency. In May we launched a competition which hopefully you heard about and took part in which was to design a logo for our campaign and/ or a poster for our campaign. We received many entries which we are currently judging. I got to announce this on BBC Radio Devon and we might announce winners there too so keep an ear out! Our ideas for further actions in the campaign include pledges for at home and school, plastic free school canteens, eco awards for schools, beach cleans, a climate forum and much more. We are in early stages and soon will tell you a clearer plan. We have also had meetings with Devon Climate Emergency and Co-cars to work with them. I have been taking part in the digital climate strikes and getting more involved with and speaking to Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion Youth Barnstable. I also went live on operation livestream on YouTube talking about climate change, which was great. I’m excited for this campaign to progress.
#defendthedefenders Referring to saving the indigenous peoples who protect our essential landscapes of nature! 5% of people protect 80% of our biodiversity!! And that is why it is so important to protect these people who protect our incredibly precious earth. We need to stand with them to help them fight for their basic human rights and help them carry on protecting our earth.
The Make Your Mark results from last year show that public transport is the issue that concerts young people in North Devon most and has been for quite a few years. Our plan is to reduce the cost of public transport for young people and make it easier and more accessible for young people in rural North Devon to use. We want young people in North Devon to have freedom and independence. We are trying to speak to councilors and are in contact with Stagecoach and also Co-cars. I am also trying to get in contact with Holsworthy rural transport. Hopefully I will be able to tell you that we have made progress and things have changed soon.
The North Devon team have created a poster with tips for lockdown which I will attach here. I am part of a national campaign for mental health and we have created an Instagram @therapeutic_thursdays, we post tips for your mental health during lockdown and we are trying to break the mental health stigma and talk about it more. I also posted a lot on my Instagram @myp_maisie for Mental Health Week.
Happy world oceans day! Living and growing up next to the ocean all my life has really given me massive love and appreciation for it. I would even go as far as saying being in the ocean and on the beach watching it is my absolute favourite place. I strongly believe to protect something we need a love and appreciation of it which will make you more passionate about what you are trying to achieve. We also all need some positivity. That's why I have put the first 5 slides there.
However as beautiful as it is it's in danger and needs our help from OUR wrongdoings. I've been to countless beautiful clean beaches but also countless ones full of plastic 🤢 or not full but plastic lurking all over. Animals eat our plastic waste which kills them. The ocean is a carbon sink for a third of our carbon. The ice caps are melting causing the ocean to rise and our homes to fall underwater killing us. Not nice things to say but so true! We need to protect our ocean. Because it so beautiful but also because it keeps us alive - for so many reasons I'm not going to list. We need to clean up our oceans and beaches from the plastic already there and stop putting more plastic in them. By eradicating single use plastic and lowering our overall plastic. We need to keep the global temp rise below 1.5 degrees to avoid further melting of ice caps and warming of the ocean causing the precious and fundamental sea creatures and coral and algaue to die which is so fundamental for life on earth. Over 70 percent of the earth is covered in currently (but not for long if we don't act) healthy (not really its ALREADY deteriorating) oceans and essential biodiversity and it needs to stay that way. We need to #actnow #worldoceansday #beautifulworld #lovetheocean #plasticfree #saveourseas #sos #saveouroceans
We got the chance to speak to Anne Longfield the Children’s Commissioner as part of her research project into children’s life in lockdown, which was great. I took a survey beforehand which about 25 young people took part in so when I spoke to her I could represent as many people as possible. This is what came up:
~ Main message? Communicate clearly and directly with children and young people not just adults!
~ We spoke quite a bit about how ‘home school’ is being delivered: generally concluding that there was not a good system in place and it was very inconsistent. We said that there should be guidelines as to how work should be delivered to students and more personal contact with teachers.
~ Concerns were also brought up about students who don’t have access to an appropriate device or broadband to access work.
~ Also worries about how exams will be handled this year and next.
~ Government should be communicating to children more so they can understand and be reassured- a possible PMQs just for children? Also, under-18s are not allowed to submit PMQs – unacceptable. We need to be acknowledged in the pandemic. We have questions and we need them answered.
~ Mental health! Should be more support and actively checking in on children. Children who were getting help at school or elsewhere are now suffering.
~ Domestic violence, young carers and issues at home: not enough support for young people dealing with this SUCH a hard time for them.
~ Children want to feel useful and contribute. An opportunity or role to play. To feel valued. Peer mental health check in service? NCS summer scheme?
~ Huge concerns over who and how we will return to school.
I have also been connecting with other MYPs across the nation through social media and we have been helping each other with campaigns and sharing tips and advice which has been really positive.
I’m sorry this one has been quite long but hopefully it gives you an idea of some of the things I have been doing as your MYP. Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully you found it quite interesting. Can’t wait for the next one!
I hope everyone is well during these hard, uncertain times and hopefully you will be hearing more from me in the future!
Harstongue spoke to Maisie about her inspiirations
Who or what inspired you to start striking? Or becoming a MYP?
I was inspired to start striking by what I saw on social media and the news mostly. I think it's a brilliant thing to do to every week - talk about climate change.
I was inspired to become an MYP because I felt that I had many issues that I was complaining about but found it hard to actually take action. I also find politics very interesting and becoming a member of parliament and making a difference is definitely something that interests me for the future
Do you find your work draining or empowering (or both)?
I mostly find my work very empowering, it's great to be able see some action being taken on issues I care about and feel that I am making a difference and seeing others do the same. There are definitely times however when it's hard, things are not going to plan or how I would like to, people are not co-operating or I have trouble getting everything done and how it should be
How do you recharge?
I recharge by taking a true break. I think taking a break is super important. For example at least 2 days where you try to step away from screens and not think about anything you have to do and be present. It's so much saying that though. It's not always possible and it is the ideal and is definitely amazing when I do do it but sometimes not realistic. Spending time with friends, going into nature, on a walk and doing things I enjoy.
Are there special places that help you to recharge?
Going outside! I am very lucky to live with nature on my doorstep. Being able to take beautiful walks and spend time outside from my back door is amazing. Sport and exercise always really lifts my mood, especially with other people. Sometimes though you do need to just go to your bed for a nap to recharge though!
Are there special people that help you to recharge?
My friends! I love spending time with them and they are so important in my life.
How easy is it to remember those places and people in your daily life?
Not super easy! I definitely have to remind my self to take a break and go outside. It's brilliant when I do though. I can't always arrange to see my friends but calling them sometimes has to do. I always feel very refreshed and happy after spending time with them.
Any advice to other strikers or people interested in politics?
My advice to anyone who wants to get involved is to go for it! Reach out, always ask. There's amazing people out there happy to talk to you. And great resources to start up. But I would say go for it and reach out to people who are doing what you want to do.