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Five to vie in youth parliament election

The five candidates are (clockwise from top left corner): Dannii Coleman, Charlie Haddon, Sonny Thomason, Carys Nield and Lewis Johnson

VOTING to decide Shetland’s next two members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) will open next week.

A total of five candidates are in the frame to stand for the isles over the next two years and represent Shetland and its youths on the Scottish mainland.

Dannii Coleman, Charlie Haddon, Lewis Johnson, Carys Nield and Sonny Thomason will all vie for votes from 7am on Monday until 5pm on 17 March, with the results due to be announced three days later.

Young people aged between 12 and 26 can vote online or in person at junior high schools and high schools, as well as Shetland College, Shetland Library and the Bridges Project.

Two new young parliamentarians will replace current Shetland MSYPs Kaylee Mouat and Kelvin Anderson, who are stepping down from their roles.

Among the issues at the top of Dannii’s agenda are mental health, education and social skills.

The Baltasound youth said she wants Shetland’s younger population to feel more “connected in the community” and self-confident.

Charlie, from Weisdale, said life as a young person in Shetland can be “frustrating”, citing the examples of needing to fundraise for sporting trips and the lack of affordable tutoring.

He said he would attempt to work with Shetland Recreational Trust to lower the cost of going to the gym, while he also said there needs to be more facilities for young people waiting for buses.

Lewis describes himself as “charismatic and intelligent” and someone who has an active interest in both local and national politics.

The 15 year old Brae High School pupil said he would engage with young people online and would be keen continue to hold Q&A sessions with Shetland Islands Council convenor Malcolm Bell and MSP Tavish Scott.

Carys, from Sandwick, said she wants to become an MSYP to “really make a difference” on issues such as school subject choice and the portrayal of young people.

If elected, she promises to engage with transport body ZetTrans to discuss the apparent lack of buses for youths in rural parts of Shetland.

Lerwick youth Sonny, meanwhile, said he would consult with his peers to gather their views on a range of topics from education support for underprivileged people to the development of tourism in Shetland.

“I believe that no issue is too big, or too small, and this will help me listen to the views of young people about issues that matter to them,” he added.