Cross-party support for introduction of a Gloucestershire Youth Council
Proposals to give Gloucestershire’s children and young people more of a say were unanimously agreed by county councillors yesterday.
At a meeting of the full council, Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, proposed a motion calling for the creation of a youth council, which, following amendment, was supported by all councillors.
The council agreed to talk to other public sector bodies in the county, including district councils, the police and NHS to look at setting up a youth council to give young people a voice in issues across the county.
Cllr Hodgkinson said: “We all know how youth councils can benefit those involved, however I am also excited to hear our county’s talented young people provide fresh ideas to some of Gloucestershire’s most challenging issues, such as retaining and attracting the young adults that are critical for the county’s economic viability.”
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “I am really enthusiastic about giving young people in Gloucestershire a bigger say – that’s something the county council is already doing on issues from climate change to services for children and families. A countywide youth council would be a big boost in taking that forward.”
Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour Group, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this motion received unanimous support. Children and young people have the right to receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds and the formation of a youth council will be an excellent platform to allow this to happen. I look forward to it.”
Cllr Rachel Smith, leader of the Green Group, said: “It’s great to see the county council committing to valuing the voices, opinions and experiences of children and young people. It’s important that the creation of a youth council for Gloucestershire gives children and young people the chance to initiate change-making on the issues that matter to them the most, and I look forward to seeing how it will be resourced to ensure every young person, no matter their background, has the opportunity to participate.”
Hanna Doherty, 17, a student at Farmor’s School in Fairford and a member of the Youth Parliament for the Cotswolds and Stroud, said: “I’ve been a member of the UK Youth Parliament since I was 14 and have really valued the experience. Introducing a youth council in Gloucestershire will allow young people in Gloucestershire to debate the issues that are most important to them.”
The county council agreed to work with Leadership Gloucestershire to establish a youth council to give young people a voice on the issues that affect them across Gloucestershire, irrespective of which body is responsible for those services.