Youth Councillors gather to represent young people in Wiltshire

YOUNG people have gathered for the first time in their new roles as Wiltshire Youth Councillors.

The event, on Saturday, March 2, was a celebration of their election to the role – where they had the opportunity to meet the deputy leader of Wiltshire Council, Cllr Laura Mayes.

A total of 29 candidates have been appointed from 10 schools, and community seats, in a bid to ensure young people’s voice is heard in all decision making across the county.

Cllr Mayes met with candidates and congratulated them on their appointments and the young people undertook votes to fill key roles within the group, such as who would be the representatives nationally as members of Youth Parliament and head secretary and deputy.

Newly-elected head secretary, Katie Hyland, 15, said: “I’m so thrilled to have been elected as head secretary.

“For this role, I’m excited to support Wiltshire Youth Council in making change to our community. I’m looking forward to seeing what new experiences and opportunities this role will bring.”

In the coming months, Wiltshire Youth Councillors will:
* Meet up with Wiltshire Council leaders and have their say on local decisions.
* Work with area boards to ensure funding for youth projects has the right impact for them and their peers.
* Review services to ensure they represent young people’s best interests.
* Communicate with their peers so young people’s views are properly represented.
* Have the opportunity to meet councillors and cabinet member for a particular area of interest.

Youth councillors are asked to commit one evening per month to attend a full youth council meeting, which will focus on issues important to the young people.

The role also requires them to talk to their peers about the issues and represent their views.

There will be training to support them in their roles, covering topics including debating, running a youth review/inspection and delivering presentations.

Wiltshire Youth Council is also made up of special advisors, young people to ensure the views of the underrepresented are heard.

There will be special advisors championing areas such as young carers, children in care, LGBTQ+ young people and military families.

Cllr Mayes said: “This was a great opportunity to meet our new youth councillors and hear their views and what they wish to achieve during their one-year term in office.

“I very much look forward to working with them as a key part of our decision making.

“Young people are our future and we need to ensure we listen to their views as the decisions we make today will affect everyone’s future tomorrow.”

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