Two Wallace High School Upper Sixth pupils, Jenni Maguire and Lindsay McCullough, have helped create an interactive website for young people in Northern Ireland. The humorously titled, ” WIMPS” – Where Is My Public Servant? – will contain a database of all public representatives searchable by postcode to enable young people to find out about their politicians be that at local Council or European Parliament level.
Jenni explained, ” Visitors to the site can email their representatives directly – it is hoped that WIMPS will help create real relationships between yougn people and the decision makers who influence our lives.” Lindsay added, ” We want the website to be unbiased and accessible- educated and empowered young people can act as a significant force for good in Northern Ireland. ” The site will be updated on a daily basis with articles and information about current issues and will contain a calendar detailing local political and social events.
Jenni commented, ” We hope that our politicians will take part in hotseating and web chats – we think it’s important for young people to be able to relate
to their public representatives. Ultimately we believe that Northern Ireland would be a better place if its younger generation could be engaged and productive citizens.”
Lindsay and Jenni have taken overall responsility for the PR of the website and have just returned from a three day training trip to London, where they worked with marketing and media professionals. Whilst Lindsay hopes to follow a career in science, Jenni hopes to study Advertsing and Marketing at the University of Ulster next year.
Lindsay commented, “We both found the trip to London very worthwhile and learnt a great deal. We also gained a lot from the wekk long residential in portaferry during the summer holidays. Whilst there, we worked on citiznship issues with the other members of the website team, brainstorming and planning its creation. Our central aim was to be unbiased and fully representative – the team of ten is made up from people from across the province from various backgrounds. Skills we’ve developed include teamwork , communication and compromise – I’ve no doubt these skills will be very useful in our future careers.”
The website – www.wimps.org.uk – will be launched officailly a a two day citizenship event in Londonderry next week. The girls hope that all schools’ websites across the province will provide a link to the site.
The girls concluded, ” We’d certainly encourage young people in Lisburn to visit the site and leave fedback concerns and issues. It’s very exciting being involved at the start of this project which will hopefully make such a big difference to the lives of many.”
Last modified: October 12, 2004