Presentations from Epping Forest Youth Councillors and Essex County Council were given to the Overview and Scrutiny panel on 19 April 2016.
Successful year for Epping Forest Youth Council
Epping Forest youth councillors confidently and eloquently updated the panel on their achievements over the past year.
The youth council’s highest profile event this year was their youth conference. This involved 90 young people from local secondary schools and was attended by guest speaker Eleanor Laing MP. Their aim was to promote Local Democracy Week, raise the profile of the youth council and involve other young people in the debate about the current issues.
Promoting mental health awareness
The young councillors explained their plans to develop mental health workshops for young people at schools within the district, promoting mental health awareness amongst young people and addressing the lack of support services for young people across the country.
The Epping Forest Youth Council have been involved in many other projects this year, including promoting youth volunteering and assisting with 14 consultations including a national consultation on the living wage for young people, racism and emotional wellbeing and mental health.
They have been representatives on various strategy groups and have organised Youth Volunteering days in partnership with the City of London. The Youth Council informed councillors that they got external funding of £6,750, enabling them to deliver high quality projects.
Councillors were deeply impressed by the quality of their presentation and highly commended their many excellent achievements throughout the year.
Redesign of Children’s Centre Services
Essex County Council plans to redevelop and improve Children’s Centre services across the County, following their public consultation which ended on 10 April 2016.
Coordinated approach to support services
Chris Martin, (Integrated Commissioning Director) and Gill Holland (Lead on Children’s Centre Performance in West Essex) explained to Councillors that the changes made will improve the accessibility of children’s services across the County. They will do this by making services flexible, increasing the age range, targeting the most vulnerable and disadvantaged and by providing a more coordinated approach to support services.
Accessible ‘Family Hubs’ for each district
One ‘Family Hub’ will be introduced into each authority area across Essex. The hubs will provide children’s support services and will be open for 50 hours per week. Their opening hours will be staggered, to enhance accessibility for families that are unable to visit during normal working hours.