A COUNCIL ‘run by young people for young people’ will soon be established in the Royal Borough to give them a ‘voice’ in local decision-making.

Senior councillors unanimously agreed at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, February 25, the first steps to set up a youth council to ‘empower and encourage’ those aged 14 to 19.

If set up, the youth council will help the councillors and officers shape and influence future policies and decisions that could impact on their lives and outcomes.

The Royal Borough currently doesn’t have a youth council – but instead of groups run by the Youth Service including the girls policy forum, youth ambassadors, and more.

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"We are the future of the borough after all”

Presenting the report, councillor Stuart Carroll (Con: Boyn Hill), lead member for adult social care, children services, health, and mental health, said this will give young people the opportunity to learn new skills, build their confidence, and team working.

Cllr Carroll said there’s nothing but positives with this proposal having better youth engagement will not only advantage local community – but local democracy as well.

He added young people want to see the council on issues such as climate change, the environment, and mental health, and want to bring ideas and innovation to the table to help tackle these challenges.

In a letter by two youth ambassadors, which was read out by Cllr Carroll, they said: “A youth council will make us feel like our voice was heard and listened to and our opinions actually mattered.

“We want to influence the decision-making process rather than have decisions made for us. We are the future of the borough after all.”

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Cllr Amy Tisi (Lib Dem: Clewer East) said: “I think there’s a misconception that young people aren’t interested in politics.

“Perhaps they’re not interested in party politics or our political system – but I think if we look at the climate change emergency movement, the European movement, all these things, young people are right there at the heart of it and it’s really, really important we encourage that.”

A working group will be set up to establish a framework and the governance on the participation of the youth council.

This will then be brought back to cabinet in April for the final say and, if passed, the youth council could have its first meeting this September.