Candidates from the main political parties were grilled on housing, the environment and school facilities at a digital hustings in Barnet this week.

The event, which was held on Tuesday evening at Woodhouse College, was live-streamed on Facebook to give youngsters the chance to quiz the politicians via the web.

It was staged by charity Community Barnet to get young people involved in the democratic process and encourage them to take part in local elections on May 3.

Labour candidate for Hale Rachel Megan Barker was one of the candidates under the spotlight, alongside Conservative candidate for Brunswick Park Roberto Weeden-Sanz, Liberal Democrat candidate for Childs Hill Sachin Patel, and Green Party candidate for High Barnet Nathan Wade.

Ms Barker said: “It was really positive. “However neve-racking, being on a live stream was really positive and a good way to engage with under 18s, who do not get much attention from politicians.

“In politics in general, there is a big group of people who do not get to have their voices heard.

“The big thing that came up was education funding and facilities. There was a lot of concern about a school that had its swimming pool closed. We were asked ‘how can we make sure kids can access swimming pools, sports facilities and libraries?’”

Other topics brought up by the youngsters included the environment and the quality of council services.

Youngsters also made the point that local authorities need to make more of an effort to engage with the young by improving their websites and making more use of social media.

“Housing was a huge issue,” Ms Barker added. “People were saying ‘I can’t imagine how you can afford a house’. It affects anyone under the age of 30.”

A study by the Electoral Commission in 2017 found strong evidence of a lack of engagement with local elections, particularly among young people.

The report revealed nearly half of 18 to 34-year-olds did not feel they had enough information to help them to decide how to cast their vote.

Mr Wade said he had “loved” the Digital Youth Hustings and that it was important for similar events to be held in other schools and colleges during elections.

“There can never be enough of getting young people into politics, we’ve got to keep doing it,” the Green Party candidate added.

“It was a wonderful event and I congratulate everyone who was involved.”

Community Barnet head of community services Jeni Osbourne said: “We’re thrilled with how the event went. We have an excellent staff team who ensured that everything went to according to plan.

“The event was well attended and it was really encouraging to see so many people engaged in the live audience and on our Facebook Live video.”