Kent Messenger column w.e. 17-10-14 – Shadow Helen 2014 competition

Engaging younger people in our political processes is arguably one of the most important roles politicians undertake. These are the people who will shape the future of our nation and our place in the world, affecting the lives of our grandchildren and future generations.

This week Kent County Council, along with hundreds of councils and thousands of schools across Europe have been involved with Local Democracy Week. It’s a great opportunity for students to get to know their local councillor, find out about the decision-making process, learn how to get involved, give their views on local issues and understand how democracy affects every aspect of their lives.

I am marking Local Democracy Week with the launch of the 2014 Shadow Helen competition, first run in 2008 and again in 2011. (Right - 2011 winners Hannah Pontet and Leah Maclean pictured on the Terrace at the Houses of Parliament)

This year's winners will have the chance to visit Parliament, view House of Commons debates and work alongside MPs, Government Ministers and local Councillors. The experience will also provide a front row seat to what promises to be an exciting General Election Campaign.

Entrants must be aged between 16 and 18 on the entry closing date of Sunday 16th November and live, or attend school, within the boundaries of the Parliamentary Constituency of Maidstone and The Weald.

The competition process will reflect the way in which a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate is selected, including; presenting a CV, having an interview, giving a short speech and undertaking a Q & A session with a small judging panel. It is not nearly as scary as it sounds and has proven to be ideal practice for those tricky university and job interviews! Every finalist will be offered a day’s work experience in Westminster.

Application forms and guidance notes download links are at the foot of the home page at or email, or write to ‘Shadow Helen 2014, Helen Grant MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. 304


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 15th October, 2014.  

Open for Applications!

I am delighted to announce that the Shadow Helen Competition 2014 is now open. Young people from Maidstone & the Weald will have the chance to 'Shadow' me through the remainder of this Parliamentary Term and into the General Election on May 7th 2015.

The competition winners will gain valuable work experience inside Parliament and have the chance to watch debates in the House of Commons, attend committee meetings and network with a wide variety of politicians and officials. They will also follow me throughout the General Election, seeing first-hand the excitement and complexity of a national campaign.

I am also thrilled that this year we will be offering all finalists a day of work experience in Westminster.

If you are aged between 16-18 in November of this year then please do fill out an application form, available to download below together with some guidance notes.

Please note the closing date for applications is Sunday 16th November 2014.

Best of luck!





Candidate Application Form

Guidance Notes  

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I hope you will find it informative and helpful.

If there is anything you feel I can do for you as your MP, send me a message.  If you would like to receive regular updates on my activities and forthcoming events please sign up for my e-communique newsletter.

With very best wishes


Helen on Twitter