Debating the finer points of living in a fine city

Pictured at Birkdale School Oakholme Road Broomhill Sheffield is Student Harrison Carter.
Pictured at Birkdale School Oakholme Road Broomhill Sheffield is Student Harrison Carter.

Harrison Carter, aged 17, is a member of the UK Youth Parliament, a national charity that gives young people a voice which has the ear of local and national government.

In Sheffield he recently influenced the council over its banning of the use of the ‘mosquito’, an electronic device that emits high fequency sound which is used to disperse groups of young people perceived to be causing trouble.

In the sixth form of Birkdale School at Broomhill, Harrison is studying biology, chemistry and physics and wants to go on to medicine at university. He lives at Norton and his interests include playing the piano, reading and getting involved in politics.

Graves Park

Graves Park in the south of the city is, in my opinion, the most generous gift to the City of Sheffield from JG Graves.

Being right on my doorstep, I’ve grown up with an array of memories of this fantastic park. It has catered for all my needs from young age to today.

Spending summers sliding down the mud hills that adorn the woods with friends, ranking them on the difficulty of navigation through the trees and avoiding the stream at the bottom. Winters gliding and swooping over the snow-covered golf course on sheets, sledges and makeshift snowboards, bruises and wet clothes to follow.

Nowadays Graves Park acts as a perfect haven for a jog through the wildlife and a place to get nostalgic about those past winters and summers spent with good friends.

The train station

The train station is my second home, of sorts, and the actions of “coffee, tickets, train” have become a clockwork routine. The passing of people, offering us a glimpse into their own life, each of us individual but all united in one aim. To journey.

There’s something special about pulling away as I head out on Youth Parliament engagements enthused about the work that day offers and also a reassuring emotion upon return.

The train sighs its way past the white-on-blue letters “Sheffield”, the lights of the station glimmer into view. There’s the blast of the station air as the door opens and the knowledge that I am at home in my city.

Family locations

Both sides of my heritage reside here in Sheffield. I experience the whole of Sheffield through regular visits to my nannan in Greenhill and great auntie in Heeley.

I also have pockets of family in Aston, Handsworth and Beighton. In this sense the idea of Sheffield being “Britain’s biggest village” is true, as every neighbourhood feels like a small, welcoming piece of home.

Sixth Form

School comforts me because it is a constant. The philosophy of Birkdale to give its pupils responsibility leads me to be conscious and independent. I am instilled with the confidence I need to be a representative and to lead Youth Parliament campaigns.

My curiosity for how the world works is satisfied by my studies in biology, chemistry and physics. My aim to read medicine fulfils my belief in the necessity to give something back to the society that has given me education and fed my hunger for knowledge. The Common Room is a forum for discussion, laughter and sometimes study. My friends bring me down to earth and I do my best to reciprocate.

St James’ Church

Since the age of nine I have enjoyed singing in the choir at St James’ Church. Over the past year I haven’t committed myself to singing at the church but it provokes fond memories of learning motets weekly and the enjoyment of the magnificat (my soul) and nunc dimittis (song of simeon).

Listening to Stanford’s magnificat in G brings to the surface my love for choral music. From the soaring of the trebles, the falsetto tones of the counter-tenors and the rumble of the bass, there’s an indescribable richness to what appears to be such a simple execution of something so harmoniously complex.

My roots are built into the church, through my grandma and grandad’s wedding there, my own christening and the growth of my passion for music nurtured by Peter Hackett, choirmaster.

Cello coffee house and Greenhill village

Although very much part of Sheffield, Greenhill, one of my favourite neighbourhoods, could be mistaken for a village separate from the city that surrounds it. The congestion of people and traffic found at Sheffield’s heart – reminders that you live in a very successful metropolis – is absent here but community living still thrives. The local café Cello is one of my favourite places for coffee and a bite to eat.

Youth Parliament

I was put forward to be in the Youth Parliament two years ago and ever since have enjoyed the process immensely.

As a representative of young people aged 11 to 18 in Sheffield I have been running campaigns to better their lives. Of particular note have been campaigns banning the mosquito device and introducing a young carer’s card in Sheffield.

The Youth Parliament allows me to exercise my belief in social justice and is a great environment for political thought. At the annual sittings and residential, ideas flow between enthusiastic individuals from far-flung ends of the political spectrum.