One student Charlie Nixon has just been confirmed as one of the youngest people in the country to stand as a County Councillor at the next local elections that will take place on 4 May 2017.
Charlie (who turned eighteen at the end of February) has lived in Capel St Mary all of his life. Representing Samford, the Labour candidate is keen to get more young people involved in politics and helped set up the Suffolk Young Labour Party (SYLP) last year.
He said, "We created the SYLP because we could see that lots of young people were interested in politics – we had shared values but we didn't have anywhere to go. We meet regularly (around once a month) and campaign in the town centre on lots of different issues such as better funding for the NHS. We are keen to expand into other parts of the county such as Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Sudbury."
Through his involvement with the SYLP, he was approached by senior Labour figures in Ipswich and was asked if he would like to stand as a candidate this year.
He continues, "They (Labour) didn't have a candidate (for Samford) and asked me if I would stand. I said yes as it will be such a great experience. I think they were eager to get me involved as it gives politics a younger voice. I'm happy to be that voice and now I'm on the campaign trail."
In terms of his policies, Charlie will be delivering 3000 leaflets to his constituents where he is keen to invest current Suffolk County Council reserves back into public services.
"One of the main things for me at the moment is that Suffolk County Council (led by the Conservatives), are sitting on £198m in reserves and they are cutting services left right and centre across the county. It doesn't seem necessary or right. There is no need to cut children's centres, hospital or transport funding. I want to ask questions about investing this reserve money to improve the roads, broadband and increase funding for public services. I want to reinstate and improve libraries, introduce a subsidised bus card for young people and a look at having a 24 hour transport service for those with disabilities and the elderly. I want to help people at the end of the day."
Charlie first got interested in Politics during the 2015 general election and is inspired by his 94 year old grandfather who has lived in the same house in East Bergholt all his life.
"My Grandad (Walter Nixon) has been a member of the Labour party since the late forties. He was a trade unionist and stood up for the rights of his fellow workers. He was a convener with the Transport and General Workers Union who awarded him their highest honour, the 'Slate man' and gold medal when he retired. Before that, my great grandfather did the same, even if it meant that he was persecuted for his beliefs. I see my Grandfather nearly every day and he is always interested in hearing what I am doing."
"My friends and family have also been really supportive. They are pleased, proud and excited for me. They think it's a good thing that I'm doing. They believe there is conviction in what I say."
In terms of the future, the Physics, Chemistry and Geography student continued, "Initially I want to be a voice for making change. A lot of councillors seem to get voted in and then you don't hear much about them. Everything seems to happen behind closed doors. I want to engage with the public and make sure everyone is aware and involved in what is going on."
"Long term I want to finish my A-levels and then get some industry experience – probably related to research and climate change. Once I have that experience as a County Councillor I may even consider standing as an MP. You never know what's going to happen in the future."
Deputy Principal at One, Jenny Milsom, said, "Our students never cease to surprise me in a good way and Charlie's story is inspirational. We wish him all the best during his campaign and firmly believe that this could be the start of a promising political career. The fact that he is so passionate about supporting young people and generally making the world a better and fairer place is something that we admire."