June 13, 2024

South West News

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Firefighting, cream teas and political debates – all in a day’s work for Cornwall Youth Council

Debating hot topics, donning firefighting gear, tucking into cream teas and raising money for a local foodbank were all in a day’s work for members of Cornwall Youth Council.

The young people got together at Cornwall Council’s HQ at New County Hall for a ‘Fun Day’ of team-building and networking on Monday (August 21).

They were joined by councillors and senior council officers, all of whom were “blown away” by the levels of passion, commitment and determination on show.

Cornwall Youth Council members enjoy the Fun Day

Youth Councils aim to give young people a forum and a voice to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives. In Cornwall, members are active in their communities and use their position to help the council make important decisions and plan for the future.

Speaking at the event, Rachael, who is chair of the Cornwall Youth Council, said:

“Today has been a really positive day. It’s nice to see everyone turn out and be able to talk so passionately about their projects.

“We have been working hard on restructuring our youth council and we have made a proposal so that members can vote and have their say in what we are doing.

“Today we voted for an extension to the chair so I will be the chair until the end of April. We also had updates from our committees focusing on SEND (special educational needs and disabilities), cost of living and youth voice.”

Cornwall Youth Council members enjoy the Fun Day

As part of the day, the 10 Youth Council members along with visitors from two primary schools and youth group Speak Up Cornwall took part in activities which included a team-building exercise run by Phoenix, the training arm of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

This saw them don protective fire kit, including the specialist breathing apparatus (BA) used to keep firefighters safe in hot, smoke-filled buildings.

They also watched the premiere of a new children’s rights film and held a collection in aid of a local foodbank.

Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, cabinet member for children and families at the council, attended on the day and said:

“The Youth Council is really important because there are far too many people currently in all councils who are more my side of 30 than below, so we need to encourage our young people to engage with the political process because they are the future.”

Kate Evan-Hughes, service director for education and community health, added:

“One of the reasons I do the job I do is because I am an advocate and champion for children’s rights. Children and young people are our future and it’s of the utmost importance that we respect their rights in everything we do and every decision we take.”

Several councillors and officers helped run the fun day and all came away saying how impressed they were.

Cllr Matt Luke, who sits on the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said:

“I have come here today to learn about the youth council and see what they do for our children and young people. It has been a very informative day. They do a fantastic job and we should help them as this gives children and young people in Cornwall a voice and involvement in their future and that’s the most important thing for them. They are doing great work and long may it continue.”

Cornwall Youth Council and Cornwall Council would like to thank The Cornish Scone Company, Rodda’s, Sainsbury’s and Phoenix for their contributions to the day’s success.

Cornwall Youth Council members enjoy the Fun Day

Cornwall Youth Council is due to hold its next workshop on September 9 and next full council meeting on October 18.

Press release issued on August 24, 2023.

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