Youth Council to give voice to Islington youngsters

Islington’s first youth council is being billed as a chance for young people to tell those in power exactly what they think and why.

The eight-strong council will hold regular meetings with Islington Borough Council’s executive committee to give a voice to the needs of young people and to help them decide how money is spent on youngsters across the borough.

Richard Watts, Islington Council’s executive member for children and families, said: “We are absolutely determined to put the voices of young people at the heart of what services we provide for young people.

“The youth council is a mechanism for young people to tell us what they think.”

The 23 teenage hopefuls are currently campaigning ahead of election day next Thursday, February 9.

Each candidate has chosen a campaign issue which, if elected, they want to see improved in the borough. Important areas include crime and access to sports and arts facilities.

The first task of the youth council, which will stand for two years, will be to carry out a consultation of young people in the borough to find out what they want to see changed. Youth councillors will also elect a young mayor and deputy young mayor.

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They will lead the council and represent Islington in the Young Mayors’ Network, which has members from Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

Cllr Watts said: “It is up to the youth council members how often they meet, but we really believe we should trust them. In the future we might even see the youth council spend some money on behalf of young people.”

Catherine West, leader of Islington Council said: “Our new youth council is going to bring a breath of fresh air to Islington.

“They will help us to ensure that we keep the needs of young people at the heart of everything we do.

“Islington is one of the few boroughs which is not cutting young people’s services and we will continue to do everything we can to shield them from the excesses of government cuts. We are on the side of our young people in tough times.”

Polling stations will be opened in schools and youth clubs, with every child aged between 11 and 17 eligible to vote.

The following day, on Friday February 10, there will be an event at the healthy-living youth hub.

The votes will be counted and the results of who will form Islington’s first ever youth council will be announced.

n See all the candidates and their manifestos at