Young people with something to say are being asked to nominate themselves as co-opted members of a new Youth Council for the area. Elections are to be held in secondary schools across the District during December but five places are to be reserved on the new Youth Council for young people who go to work or education outside the District.
Staff from Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council are visiting schools as part of the publicity to raise awareness about the forthcoming Youth Council elections. However, with large numbers of young people travelling outside the District to school or college, Council staff will also be available to speak to any individuals interested in standing for the five additional places, to offer advice and support with the self nomination process.
Each local school is holding elections to send two students between the ages of 13 and 17 to the Youth Council of 25 members. Epping Forest District Council has produced nomination form packs in which each candidate is asked to list three main reasons why they should be elected. Elections will take place during the week commencing 10 December 2007 with the first meeting in January when the further five independent Youth Councillors will be co-opted to the Youth Council.
Youth Councillors will be asked to serve for a two year period and full details of the amount of time commitment required is highlighted in the nomination packs.
Epping Forest District Council is working closely with local schools and youth organisations to develop the Youth Council but stresses that the Youth Councillors will set their agenda for themselves.
Councillor Mrs Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council said: Young people have a right to be heard. The new District-wide Youth Council will be the place where they can come together. We will listen and learn from the Youth Council. It will provide the District`s young people with access to the most senior Councillors, giving them the opportunity to tell us what they want as well as allowing us to consult on our own policies.
Councillor Mitch Cohen, Leisure and Young People Portfolio Holder added: To remain healthy and vibrant, local democracy needs the involvement of young people. The Youth Council will operate in the real world. We will give it all the support we can but that will mean understanding the restrictions of budgets and the competing demands of other people, young and older alike. However, Epping Forest District Council is committed to making this process work. As well as access to Councillors, we will provide staff, facilities and training. Meetings of the Youth Council will be webcast like our own Council meetings so that other young people can see how their representatives are doing. It will also be a great learning experience and hopefully lots of fun too.
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