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More than 100 sixth formers and community leaders will gather at the Nottingham Emmanuel School on Tuesday the 28th April for a first time voters lunch – asking Rushcliffe candidates why they should bother to vote and presenting key issues for young people to hear their responses.

The first time voters lunch with a difference will turn the traditional hustings on its head – instead of the normal crowd hearing set speeches from local candidates the room will be full of teenagers, vicars and students union leaders who all care deeply about the community in which they live and who want to bring about effective change. They will be presenting local MP Ken Clarke and Labour candidate David Mellen with the challenge of convincing them why voting matters before the room decides if the argument was convincing and then working in groups with local community leaders before agreeing together the key issues they want to ask candidates about.

The lunch event has been organised by the Nottingham Emmanuel School and Churches Together West Bridgford in conjunction with Nottingham Citizens with a view to encouraging young people to vote for the first time.

The event will be chaired by sixth former Niamh Shewell Cooper who recently co-chaired the Nottingham Citizens General Election Assembly in March, which brought together 2,309 people from across the city at the Royal Concert Hall. She said:

“This action is really important to us, the decisions politicians make have a real impact on our lives. We know this and we care about issues but Westminster politics can feel a long way away from here – that’s why we’re involved with Nottingham Citizens, we want politicians to come to us, answer to our issues and share why they think we as young people should vote on polling day”

Andy Wolfe Vice Principal Emmanuel School said:

“This event has been great for our young people taking real leadership, many of whom are eligible to vote for the first time next week – they have taken real ownership of the script, the agenda and what they want from the politicians and have been building strong links with the wider community through Nottingham Citizens in the process – as a school we know that there are so many issues that matter to young people and we’re delighted that local MP Ken Clarke and other candidates will be joining us to hear what these are and to respond with how they can make difference”

Chris Hodder, Vicar of St. Paul’s Church Boundary Road has been involved in partnering with the school:

“As churches together involved with Citizens UK we know that engaging in politics is vital if we are to bring about lasting change and social justice. Although Rushcliffe is a relatively safe seat we know nationally this election is extremely close and we want to make sure we are supporting the next generation to know that their vote really does count and they can make a real difference.”


What: More than 100 students and community leaders asking local candidates including local MP Ken Clarke why they should vote, hearing their responses and putting forward key questions to candidates over lunch. A small group of students, teachers and local clergy involved in organising the event will also be available for additional photos and interviews.

Where: The Nottingham Emmanuel School, Gresham Park Road, West Bridgford, NG2 7YF

When: 12-2pm.

For more information, and to arrange photographs, filming and interviews, please call Lydia Rye on 07939598973

Nottingham Citizens is part of Citizens UK who work to develop the capacity and skills of socially and economically disadvantaged communities so that their members are better able to identify and help meet their own needs; improve their neighborhood; and participate more fully in society.

Citizens UK

· Has trained over 7,000 community leaders in the art and practice of community organising and leadership.

· Supports 35 professional Organisers working with over 300 local institutions – schools, colleges, faith groups, trade union branches, diaspora communities, health centres and traders associations.

· Co-ordinates major campaigns like the Living Wage Campaign now delivering £200m in higher wages to 45,000 families across the UK; Citizens for Sanctuary which has persuaded the Home Office to invest more than £750,000 in the renovation of the UK’s largest immigration centre; CitySafe, an urban project linking community-rooted organisations with youth and shopkeepers, which has created 300 CitySafe havens across the capital; and an Olympics Legacy campaign which has negotiated a series of Peoples’ Guarantees including a £2m local academy for construction workers.

More information at

Posted on 29 Apr, 2015