A Lichfield student has urged young people to make their voices heard in local politics.
Fifteen-year-old Hetty Hyde-Durrant’s comments came as part of a Staffordshire-wide initiative during Democracy Week to get young people more involved in local decision-making.
Twenty five people from district Youth Forums, the county’s Youth Action Kouncil (YAK) and national Youth Parliament attended a discussion event at County Buildings. They met with Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins and other councillors to talk about issues that matter to them.
Those attending were asked a series of questions which they voted on using interactive voting pads. Councillors and young people then held a debate around the issue they voted on. Three main issues were covered – perceptions of young people in the media, promoting local democracy and bullying.
And for Hetty, the event highlighted the need for young people to take an active role in local decision making. She explained:
“It’s really important that young people get what they think heard. We should all try to understand how decisions are made better and then, maybe, younger people would be more interested in getting involved. It’s up to young people to make their views known and up to the people who make decisions to make sure they listen”
County Councillor Matthew Ellis admits he was impressed with Hetty’s political knowledge. He said:
“Hetty is a very impressive young lady and has a keen sense of politics. She is clearly a future politician!”
Cllr Atkins has also given his backing to Speak Out – a conference organised by young people in the region.
The conference will be held at the Staffordshire County Showground on November 19 and is open for all young people aged 13 to 19 who live, work or study in the county.
For more information or to book your place, contact Kathryn Lowe on 01785 277220 or log onto www.staffordshirechildrenstrust.org.uk.