Two years after it was founded the first members of Bradford's youth Parliament are to retire - and those behind the £200,000 project are admitting to mistakes.

Questions have been raised over the parliament's transparency and even its purpose, but the Council is standing by the project and insisting things will be better next time. Elections for the second sitting are to be held in January.

Mick Chandsoor, Bradford and Keighley youth parliament worker, said the MYPs were pioneers trying to find their direction.

"This has been a massive learning curve for us," he said. "We had been trying to find out what the issues were. Now we want to find out where we went wrong and make sure we don't do it again.

"We have learned from our mistakes. It was a brand new project, everyone from councillors down realises that. We know mistakes were made."

The authority's youth parliament staff wish they had allowed the first parliament to be more open and say they should have communicated its achievements better.

During office, members supported drives to allow 16-year-olds to vote and to let those under 18 speak at Council meetings. They interviewed hundreds of young people about the need for sports facilities and investigated segregation issues.

One MYP stood for election as a councillor in June.

Mr Chandsoor said. "We have been involved in lots of issues but the problem is we have not publicised what we have done."

Eighty young people have expressed an interest in the 30 places up for grabs in January.

After the poll, the new MYPs will get six weeks training before being exposed to a district-wide youth conference where they will find out what issues they should tackle.

The Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Fund is backing the Youth Parliament to the tune of £105,000 for the next 12 months. The cash is spent on the day-to-day running of the parliament and includes costs like hiring premises and employing three support staff.

To mark the end of their period in office the first MYPs held a leaving party at the Town and Country Club, Manningham, yesterday.

Salma Ahmed, 17, said: "I've been delighted to serve on this platform for young people to help make a difference."

Bradford Council leader, Councillor Margaret Eaton, congratulated them, saying: "It has been an important project in giving young people a real say in issues affecting them, such as education, health matters and community harmony."

The youth parliament has had some say on the authority's children and young persons' strategy group.

Mr Chandsoor said the next parliament would tackle things differently. "We hope to influence Council policy more and work more closely with them - there have been barriers, but many of the councillors have been supportive."