District council backs youth democracy plans

District council backs youth democracy plans

District council backs youth democracy plans

First published in Local Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A YOUNG people’s mayor and a youth council could be set up in Wyre Forest under plans being considered by the district council.

Liberal councillor Fran Oborski, who proposed the project, said: “It is incredibly important that we involve young people in the civic life of this district.

“I do not just want this to be something that involves the academically engaged young people.It is important that young people who feel, at the moment, disaffected from our community are also involved.”

Council leader, Conservative Marcus Hart, said the proposal was “Important and worthwhile”, while Independent councillor Julian Phillips, who is the authority’s youngest member, added having a youth council locally would be a “Good idea”.

All political parties represented in the chamber similarly backed the initiative.

Labour councillor Barry McFarland called it “Innovative for Wyre Forest” and Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillor Liz Davies expressed “Total support for the proposal”, while UKIP councillor John Holden said his party “In principle, agree with it”.

Other members expressed opinions on how the project should be developed. ICHC councillor Graham Ballinger said it should be “Non-party political” and Labour councillor Michael Kelly added it must be “Sustainable”.

Wyre Forest already has a team of five young people who represent the district on Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, but the local authority is now exploring the possibility of having a more local body.

Craig Bateman, one of the youth cabinet members for Wyre Forest, helped develop the plans.He said: “Young people are often not being engaged enough on a local level.

“This project, however, will give them a more localised influence over decisions that are being made in their community.”

Conservative councillor Anne Hingley, the cabinet member responsible for the project, said during the meeting: “Craig is an exceptional young man.”

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