Opposing party leaders from Cheshire West and Cheshire Council have lent their support to a Cholmondeley teenager who created a website encouraging more young people to vote.

Web designer Rachael Farrington, 17, set up the Voting Counts website earlier this year to highlight the importance of voting to teenagers,  after realising turnout figures were on the decline.

Rachael, a former Bishop Heber High School student asked her local ward councillor Ann Wright to help her extend the site into local politics,  who in turn helped her enlist the support of CWaC leader Mike Jones and Cheshire West and Chester (CwaC) Labour Group Leader Justin Madders who agreed to be interviewed for the site.

“I emphasised the importance for the website to remain unbiased, and wanted to interview councillors from at least the two main parties in order to get balanced opinions,” Rachael told The Chronicle.

Labour Group leader Justin Madders
Labour Group leader Justin Madders
CWaC leader Mike Jones
 

“Ann helped me arrange the interviews with Cllrs Madders and Jones and both were helpful and really interested in the website and supported the values of promoting democratic engagement within young adults.

“The website is growing fast, with a Scottish Politics page just being added and a Welsh Politics page under development.

“Once the manifestos are announced for next years general election I will be able to further expand the General Election sections of the  website and add more up to date details to the party ideological breakdowns.”

Rachael added: “I’m looking to spread the word about the website as far as possible, we’re already making good ground with national newspaper articles.

“I hope the website will become a resource for young adults to help them make an informed decision at the ballot box, thus tackling low voter turnout in that demographic.

“Our research showed lack of political education was part of the reason for this.”

And later this year, Rachael has been asked to attend Brine Leas School in Nantwich, where she studied, to run a workshop with students  in order to help them get registered and decide who to vote for.

“My research showed me that the main reason young adults are not interested in voting is because they either don't feel like their votes count  or don't know who to vote for so that’s why I came up with the concept of creating a website that would show teenagers how important it is,” she said.

To find out more about Voting Counts, visit www.votingcounts.org.uk.

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