19 NOV 2014

Maidstone students interview Helen before winning Digital Democracy prize for Parliament Week

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and the Weald and Minister for Sport and Tourism, was grilled by Oakwood School students last week as part of a Digital Democracy competition called Hardcopy or #Hashtag?" for UK Parliament Week.

Organised by the Political Studies Association (PSA), students were asked to develop ideas on how digital technology can be used to increase youth engagement with Parliament and the political process during regional workshops across the UK.

Sebastien Rocks and Daisy Bamfield of Oakwood School, Maidstone, went on to win the competition on Monday, November 17, beating 13 other schools from across the country.

Seb and Daisy presented their idea called "Vloggers" to a panel of experts on public, digital and youth, engagement and an audience of 120 young people. After a series of 'Dragon's Den' style presentations, the Oakwood Students' idea was voted the winner via audience response handsets.

A brief synopsis of Seb and Daisy's idea can be found below:

"With YouTube as one of the biggest sources of entertainment for young people and the huge success of vloggers like Zoella who has 2.45 million followers, we decided that the way to get 16-24 year olds involved in politics would be by getting celebs and vloggers to do a 1 minute talk about a political issue that affects them. This could be why VAT affects their fashion choices or the way their local sports teams are funded. Vloggers could even follow in Tyler Oakley's steps by interviewing top politicians. We have already contacted some of the best known vloggers and we have already started this project by interviewing some of our local politicians ourselves and uploading the videos on the PSA Storify project and also on their website. Check it out!"

Speaking after the interview, Helen said:

"I was delighted to sit down with Seb and Daisy for a chat about my role as an MP and Minister for Sport and how that relates to youth engagement with the political process.

"I spoke a bit about what sport did for me growing up, how it instilled a discipline and drive to succeed, and how I want that opportunity for everyone in the UK.

"It's fantastic to see students like Seb and Daisy so engaged with politics, and I was very impressed by their innovative idea.

"Huge congratulations to them both for winning the Digital Democracy competition"

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