Thoughts were with Her Majesty The Queen and the royal family, as Epping Forest District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee began its meeting on 15 April.
Following brief introductions, the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny invited all members to join in a minute’s silence as a mark of respect following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh on 9 April.
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Youth Council – Young people ‘least affected by Covid but most affected by lockdown’
Members of the Epping Forest Youth Council presented its annual work programme to councillors. With current Youth Councillors only taking up their roles in March 2020, the Youth Council itself has been heavily influenced by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Mental health, loneliness and isolation, and educational pressure have been identified by the Youth Council as key areas of concern among local young people.
Youth Councillors presented #MiLifeC19, the Youth Council’s latest initiative to support the mental and physical health and wellbeing of local young people. Working in local schools and online, the project includes coping strategies for anxiety, turning negative thoughts into positive experiences and support friends through mental and physical problems.
Responding to a question, Youth Councillor Sonny Bazzoni (15) of St John’s School, Epping articulated a deep insight into the impact of Covid on young people. He said:
We (young people) weren’t the ones most affected by the virus but I certainly say we were the ones most affected by the lockdown.
It was so sudden, and no one was prepared for it. Nothing like this has happened in most people’s lifetimes, and to be a teenager during the pandemic has been difficult. Schools being open has been the best decision so far.
Local Mental Health Services for young people
Following the Youth Council presentation, councillors remained with the theme of mental health services for young people. Sarah Garner is the Assistant Director for the Southend, Essex & Thurrock Children & Young Peoples Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health Collaborative. Ms Garner updated members on what is available in West Essex before taking a range of questions.
Draft Annual Report, Cabinet, Quarter 4 Performance and Work Programmes
In the final meeting of committee before the local elections in May, councillors also reviewed the draft Overview and Scrutiny Annual report, the work programmes and the main and select committees, and the forward work programme of the Cabinet as well as the Corporate Plan Quarter 4 Performance.
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