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Youngsters get passionate about politics at Children's Parliament

Youngsters from 10 local primary schools gave speeches and debated each other when they took over Hammersmith Town Hall for the annual Children’s Parliament on the Environment.

About 80 children, aged 10 and 11, discussed issues including air pollution, cycling, river cleanliness and exploring your local areas at the event last month.

Two elected speakers from each of the schools made presentations on their chosen topics before everyone took part in question and answer sessions.

Nigel Pallace, Interim Chief Executive of Hammersmith & Fulham Council which funds the Children’s Parliament each year, said: “This event is a wonderful opportunity to help children’s understanding of the world as well as their confidence to share their views with others.

“It helps prepare young people for the future as well as provide an important forum for their views.”

The children researched their topics with the help of H&F Urban Studies Centre in Talgarth Road, a charity that offers hands-on learning experiences. It arranged for pupils to meet council officers, residents, community groups and environmental organisations.

Moya O’Hara, Director of the Urban Studies Centre, said: "The event gives children the opportunity to have their say on issues that affect them both locally and globally and to present their own ideas and solutions to an interested audience.”

Judges scrutinised their efforts before prizes were handed out in three categories: The Presentation Skills Award went to Fulham Primary; The Research Award was given to All Saints CofE Primary and the Environmental Action Award was won by Wormholt Park Primary. They all received framed certificates and a book for their school.

The judging panel was made up of Andrew Pendleton of the charity Friends of the Earth, Hasheam Burnett of Epic CIC youth support services and Hilda McCafferty, Chair of the Urban Studies Centre.

A fourth award was judged by the children themselves - the Children’s Special Award went to Queen’s Manor Primary School.

The other schools taking part were Addison, Sir John Lillie, Pope John RC and Wormholt primary schools in H&F; and Fox and Servite RC primary schools in Kensington and Chelsea.