Celebrating our inspiring Youth Councillors
We are proud to support one of the largest and most diverse Youth Councils in the UK. 170 young people in Kirklees have now become Kirklees Youth Councillors, after completing a local democracy training programme and taking an active role in their schools and communities.
What’s it all about?
It’s all part of our pioneering Democracy Friendly Schools programme, which helps young citizens to shape their local place. The first of its kind in the country, the free programme is open to all schools in Kirklees. It offers a range of flexible activities for children and young people of all ages. Participants aged 11 to 16 also have the opportunity to take part in a two-day training programme and to become Kirklees Youth Councillors.
Who are currently Kirklees Youth Councillors?
Young people from 11 local schools are currently Kirklees Youth Councillors: All Saints Catholic College, Batley Grammar School, Batley Girls’ High School, Cambridge Street School, Fairfield School, King James’s School, Madni Academy, Manor Croft Academy, Newsome Academy, Royds Hall Academy and Upper Batley High School. A further 12 high schools have already started their Democracy Friendly journey and 80% of high schools are signed up.
Overall, 81 Kirklees schools are signed up to the Democracy Friendly programme, which is helping children and young people in every Kirklees ward to learn about local democracy and to grow their confidence in being active citizens.
Cllr Cathy Scott, Leader of Kirklees Council and Cabinet Lead for Democracy said:
“I’d like to congratulate all the young citizens who have become Kirklees Youth Councillors. I’d also like to thank everyone who is participating in the Democracy Friendly programme. It is wonderful to see so many children and young people of all ages being supported to learn about their local democracy, to have a voice and to make a positive difference in their local place. I have been really impressed with the achievements of our young participants. I would encourage all schools to take the opportunity to get involved.”
Newsome Academy in Huddersfield have led the way as a pilot school for the programme. They were also the first high school in Kirklees to be awarded Democracy Friendly status. After completing their youth councillor training, the students have supported their peers to learn about local democracy through school assemblies and gathered views from other young people so that they can represent them well. The Youth Councillors have recruited and trained new participants. They have also designed their own social action project, creating a new wildlife space for the school and the wider community, and met with their local councillors. Through the programme, they have also been supported to take part in local and online events to share their story and to inspire others to get involved in civic life. Read more about Newsome Academy becoming democracy friendly.
Two of the Kirklees Youth Councillors at Newsome Academy said:
“Young people who don’t normally talk to one another have become youth councillors and have developed a relationship. We’ve realised that we have things in common, we just have different levels of confidence and different skills.”
“Being a part of Kirklees Youth Council has helped me to talk to people I’d never have talked to before. It’s helped my social skills by allowing me to talk more, it helps people voice their opinions. It helps you share what’s on your mind.”
Any school in Kirklees (for any age group) can find out more and join the free programme at: www.democracyfriendly.org.uk Activities are also available for youth groups in Kirklees.