RBWM youth council will aim to 'get young people involved in politics'

Shay Bottomley

RBWM youth council will aim to 'get young people involved in politics'

Cllr Stuart Carroll

An update on the Royal Borough’s youth council is due to be given at tonight’s (Thursday) cabinet meeting.

After a paper recommending its establishment was agreed at cabinet back in February, the youth council working group will announce the timetable for the proposed forum.

Informal discussions will take place throughout the summer to agree a work programme and manifesto, with successful applicants meeting for the first time in September.

Residents aged between 14-19 have until Monday (May 31) to apply and will play a key role in consulting with councillors to develop and scrutinise policy.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill) lead member for health and chair of the working group, said: “One of our priorities has been to try to ensure that a young person’s voice is not just being represented, but being heard.

“By having a youth council, there will be a structure and a due process, which ensures that the views of young people can be fully represented.

“It’s a great opportunity for young people to get involved in local democracy and see how their local authority works.”

The Youth Council will be able to discuss and table ideas which can be passed on to council, cabinet or overview and scrutiny panels for further discussion.

The key roles and responsibilities of the forum are yet to be finalised, with Cllr Carroll suggesting there will be a lot of ‘learning by doing’.

“I think it is true to say that not a lot of young people are immediately attracted towards politics – that might be because politics itself and the way its conducted does not naturally appeal to younger people,” he added.

“However, an overwhelming majority of young people are passionate about issues and their local community.

“I think it’s important to distinguish between politics and policy. A lot of young people I’ve spoken to are very interested in issues such as climate change, the environment, mental health, the NHS, future employment opportunities and education.

“My ultimate message would be: if you have that passion and enthusiasm, it’s really important to express it, to have a voice, and to get involved."

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