A new youth parliament has launched in South Ribble
Are you aged 14-17? This could be your chance to make a difference in your area.
A new South Ribble Youth Council has launched, offering a chance for young residents to use their voice and influence decisions within their community.
Now open for anyone between the age of 14-17 to join, the council is a platform for young people to share opinions on issues that matter to them, and make a mark on what happens in the borough.
The youth council will also offer training opportunities, pathways into employment and food at every meeting.
The idea to launch a new South Ribble Youth Council first came out of a Community Involvement Review, chaired by Councillor Aniela Bylinski Gelder, the Cabinet Member for Community Involvement, Social Justice and Wealth Building, after she was first elected in May 2019.
Cllr Bylinski, who then championed the youth council alongside Councillor Matthew Trafford, the lead member for youth and mental health, said: "As an administration we’ve joined the Cooperative Council Innovation Network which means we want to be a listening council, we want to work in cooperation with residents and that includes youths as well because they’re the future of South Ribble.
"It’s up to them to decide how it runs, what format they want, we’re not going to predetermine anything, we’re just literally going to give them the resources, the room, food, a learning experience, coaching and everything that they might need to make a good youth council.
"Both Matthew and I have said we want to be as involved as we can be but we’re not going to be chairing it, it’s up to them to chair it themselves, as we really want them to be autonomous and to challenge us as councillors as well, and tell us what their priorities are on behalf of all the youth in South Ribble."
South Ribble Youth Council will meet every 2 -3 weeks, and the first meeting is Thursday 21st October at 4pm at the Civic Centre, with all travel being reimbursed.
To join you do not need any prior political knowledge, and the council is even working with company called Shout Out UK, which helps people become politically literate, so whoever signs up gets four workshops with Shout Out UK where they’ll earn about national politics, local politics, and gain an understanding how the democratic process works.
Cllr Bylinski, who is also Councillor for Leyland Central, added: "We’re really excited that it's been established and we want as many people as possible to get involved.
"We want youths that might not see themselves as leaders, might not be confident, but they’ve got ideas, ideas about things they want to change, about things they want to see happening in their local area, and we’ll give them all the skills that they need to do that."
South Ribble Youth Council is a member of the British Youth Council - a national organisation which aims to empower young people to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives.
There are currently over 620 British Youth Councils across the UK, working with all levels of local government including parish and community councils as well as unitary authorities, borough and county councils.
To get involved in South Ribble Youth Council, or to find out more information, email Hanna Latif, the Community Development Officer who will be overseeing the running of the youth council, at [email protected]