Housing, mental health - and the price of cheese

Two young women standing next to each other with one arm on the other's shoulder, smiling.Image source, Jon Wright/BBC
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Courtney Hessey and Katie Clark both agree that housing is a key election issue for young people in Suffolk

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First-time voters say access to affordable housing is a key election issue.

Katie Clark, 23, works full time but still lives with her mother in Felixstowe, Suffolk.

She said trying to save for a deposit in your 20s was "astonishingly difficult".

"It doesn't matter how much you rake in every month, putting enough aside to be able to live and eventually afford a deposit is crazy," she said.

According to the Office for National Statistics,, external average house prices in east Suffolk in March 2024 were £300,000.

Image source, Jon Wright/BBC
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Tegan Phair, 18, registered to vote following a group discussion about the election, led by youth worker John Ling

Ms Clark goes to a Felixstowe-based group for young adults called Level Two, external, where weekly discussions are held about issues affecting them.

John Ling is a principal youth worker. He said young people felt "very disenfranchised from politics".

"They are aware that politics affects their lives, but they're very disconnected from that to what the political parties stand for and who to vote for," he said.

"Our oldest are in their 20s, so they were seven when the Conservatives came to power."

What would get your vote?

Courtney Hessy, 24, receives universal credit and is in supported living accommodation in Felixstowe.

She agrees that housing is a key election issue.

"First of all Section 21, external should be abolished, innocent families being moved out of homes.

"I'm living pay check to pay check at the moment.

"Even when I do move into a place [of my own] am I gonna be able to afford it?

"I was private renting for a while, but I was moved under Section 21."

'No fault evictions'

Section 21 orders are often referred to as "no fault evictions" because a landlord does not need to specify a reason for ending the tenancy, provided certain criteria are met and two months' notice is given.

The Conservatives promised to abolish them, but proposed legislation was shelved when the general election was called in May.

Ms Hessey is also concerned about the impact the cost of living crisis is having on young people.

"Cheese is ridiculous! Have you seen the price of cheese?

"That's just bare minimum stuff," she added.

"I'm having to go to food banks, there's hundreds of families across the country that have to go to food banks as well, and we shouldn't have to.

"They shouldn't be necessary."

Image source, Jon Wright/BBC
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First-time voter Tegan Phair feels the support from Level Two enables young people to make better choices

Tegan Phair, 18, works part-time and lives with her parents. She believes better mental health service provision is a key election issue.

"I've been waiting for months to hear anything about an autism diagnosis, external or anxiety diagnosis," she said.

"I'm going to look more into it [the election] and see who I think would be the best fit for what I want about education, housing and mental health."

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