Bristol’s councillors of tomorrow learn the ropes during Democracy Week

Bristol’s Youth Councillors are hoping to gain valuable leadership experience and deepen their understanding of politics during Democracy Week, which kicks off today.

Bristol City Youth Council logoDuring the week, sixteen young people from Bristol’s Youth Council will begin shadowing councillors in their local areas, helping to make young people’s voices heard in the local community.

The shadowing programme forms part of the British Youth Council’s Local Councillor Shadowing Award, which is designed to recognise young people’s understanding and involvement in local democracy. Each young person and councillor will spend 10 hours together, learning from one another.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said:

“Engaging young people with politics is vitally important. Members of our very energetic Youth Council have the chance to gain valuable experience during Democracy Week.

“The young people in our city are the leaders of the future, and have shown themselves to be hugely responsible so it’s essential to me that we invest time and resources to help them thrive.”

Councillors from 16 areas of the city are taking part in the shadowing awards programme to show young people the ropes.

Daisy Newbold-Harrop Chair of Bristol’s Youth Council, said:

“During Democracy Week I’m hoping to find out more about how local councillors serve their areas and the issues they face on a daily basis. I want to really get under the skin of how things work, and get to grips with the decision making process within the council. This is also a chance to make sure young people’s voices are heard and talk to Bristol’s politicians about the Youth Council’s manifesto and campaign plans.”

Earlier this year the Youth Council was invited to present its plans at Bristol City Council’s Annual General Meeting, underlining Bristol’s commitment to including young people in important decisions.

The manifesto, compiled by the 33 Youth Council members, including Bristol’s two Youth Mayors Neha Mehta and Thanushan Jeyarajah and two UK Youth Parliament members Sophie Giltinan and Ella Marshall, outlines a number of key priorities for the next two years. These included supporting Bristol’s Green Capital year; increasing volunteering opportunities for young people and de-stigmatising mental health issues.

Young people who wish to contact the Youth Council or Mayors about issues affecting them can do so by emailing ywparticipation@bristol.gov.uk. Next year it is hoped the shadowing programme will be open to more young people across the city to get involved.