Children ‘take over’ council for the day
Children from Oxfordshire schools tried their hands at being councillors for the day as part of an event to promote the voices of young people.
Around 40 young people aged between 12 and 17 ‘took over’ the council chamber at County Hall to debate and cast votes on issues such as ‘Brexit’, votes for 16-year-olds and whether to bring back grammar schools. They met council Leader Ian Hudspeth and other councillors, and got the chance to quiz them about their role.
New youth forum
Group discussions also took place about the formation of a new youth forum to advise on future decisions made by local councils, NHS and voluntary organisations. Its aim will be to reach out to more children and young people in the county than ever before, and to identify the issues that matter most.
The young people took part in brainstorming exercises and were invited to come up with a name for the new forum in a Dragons Den-style exercise.
The young people worked in groups on plans for a new Oxfordshire youth forum - and had some fun with post-it notes.
Find your voice
Takeover Day also showcased some of the work of around 400 young people on a project called Find Your Voice, held by the council’s Library Service throughout 2015. The participants produced videos, plays, soundscapes and written poems expressing their views about life today, and what they wanted to change. Some of those who took part discussed their views further with councillors.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Melinda Tilley said: “It is so important to encourage young people to find out about local parliament and democracy, and even more important for councillors to hear what young people think about local and national issues.”
Cabinet Member for Cultural Services Lorraine Lindsay-Gale added: “The Find Your Voice project showed that children and young people in Oxfordshire are very engaged and care passionately about the issues affecting them and their communities. It was great to meet them and hear some strong views and lively debate.”