SEVEN Melksham Oak School students are standing in this week’s Wiltshire Youth Council elections.
The Oak students are seven of 89 candidates, aged 11 to 18, from 21 schools and the local community that are putting themselves forward to be elected to the new body, which will champion young people’s voices in the county. Once elected there will be 41 councillors in total.
The elections run until Friday 4th February and young people will be able to vote online via their school to select their preferred candidate. The candidates will be contacted on the week commencing 7th February to let them know if they have been successful in winning a seat.
Wiltshire Council will announce all the youth councillors at the same time on the council website and social media platforms after everyone has been contact- ed. The successful candidates will then meet in March to set up the Wiltshire Youth Council, which will be involved in local decision making and have a say on funding for youth projects.
Wiltshire Youth Councillors will:
• Meet up with Wiltshire Council leaders and have their say on local decisions.
• Work with area boards to ensure funding for youth projects has the right impact for them and their peers.
• Inspect services to ensure they represent young people’s best interests.
• Communicate with their peers so young people’s views are represented.
• Opportunity to shadow council leaders as a shadow youth cabinet member for a particular area of interest.
Schools signed up and have encouraged 11-18 year olds to put themselves up for election. Youth councillors will be asked to commit one evening per month to attend a full youth council meeting, which will focus on issues important to the young people. They will also be expected to talk to their peers about the issues and represent their views. There will also be training to support them in their roles, covering topics including debating, running a youth inspection and delivering presentations.
Wiltshire Youth Council will also be recruiting Special Advisors, these are young people that ensure that the views of the underrepresented are heard. There will be Special Advisors that champion different causes such as young carers, children in care, LGBTQ+ young people and military families.
Wiltshire Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, cllr Laura Mayes, said, “Good luck to all our candidates standing for these important elections. Having young people who can champion the issues that are important to them is an important part of our democracy and I’m thrilled we have so many putting themselves forward for this important work. I wish you all the best and look forward to meeting many of you in the future.
You can also follow the child and youth voice team on Facebook and Instagram.