PEOPLE are being offered a voice to help shape the future of the region as a new campaign is launched.

Behind the initiative is Same Skies, an organisation set-up five years ago by a group of volunteers to give ordinary people in West Yorkshire a chance to get involved in debates about the devolution of powers from Westminster to the region.

The latest campaign – known as AMP, Alternative Manifesto Process – aims to generate new ideas as West Yorkshire prepares to elect its first mayor next May.

“These ideas will complement and challenge the official party political manifestos put forward by the candidates to be mayor during the election next spring,” said a spokesman.

“In order to discover ideas, we will be visiting places across the region to ask people about what they want to change and how. AMP will then help people who have a spark of an idea they care about to develop it more fully, perhaps by connecting them with experts at universities and civic organisations.”

A number of activities have already been held.

They have included visits to Keighley Market and markets in Bradford, Castleford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Leeds, where shoppers were invited to draw maps recording issues they care about in their neighbourhoods.

The campaign will also include a website, where people can submit suggestions to be discussed and shaped ­– supported by a programme of events during which experts and members of the public can examine issues in more detail.

The first of those events takes place online on Tuesday, August 25, at 6pm.

It will focus on housebuilding and use of land in West Yorkshire.

Same Skies says a significant section of the devolution deal struck with the Government to establish a mayor covers housing and planning.

The session will open with a brief expert review of the deal and its significance, ahead of discussion about what is wanted from home building and planning in the region.

Anyone with an interest in the topic is invited to take part. To register, visit

Same Skies member Ian Martin, a primary school teacher, is one of the main AMP organisers.

He said: “AMP will find great ideas for the mayor to put into practice – and it will also write a new job description for being the mayor of West Yorkshire!

“We want to show the new mayor the value of stepping outside the usual circles of institutional, public sector and business leaders. We are asking who else should the mayor invite through the door for a cup of tea and a chat?”

He added: “Once the AMP ideas have been collected and developed, the candidates for mayor will be invited to a series of public discussions to give their responses during the election campaign.

“Following the campaign, a book of ideas will be published to celebrate AMP and the contributions of West Yorkshire people. This will be the second book published by Same Skies, following What Kind Of Region Do We Want To Live In?”

For more details, visit