Bassetlaw’s youngest councillor is encouraging more youngsters to get involved with local politics by setting up the district’s first Youth Council.
Coun Rebecca Leigh, who was elected Worksop North East at last month’s elections, is hoping the council will give Bassetlaw’s youth a voice.
The 21-year-old will chair the monthly meetings and act as a go between the youth council - made up of youngsters aged 14-20 - and Bassetlaw’s elected representatives.
She said: “I have encountered people who have dismissed me because of my age. But there are people who have been very positive and said we want to see more younger people involved in politics - not just people who are retired.”
“I was not aware of political parties, what the council did or anything like that when I was at school.”
“The youth council will give people an outlet for them to talk about issues concerning them and set up projects they are interested in.”
Having recently finished a psychology degree at Sheffield Hallam University, Coun Leigh will be returning in September to complete a part-time PGCE teacher training course. But she said the option of going to university in years to come is a key decision in pupils’ lives.
“I took on the full amount of debt at about £9,000 for three years in what they are going to get for just one and with no guarentee of a job afterwards,” Coun Leigh added.
“There’s no point in lying to them, it’s not all just ‘going to be okay’, so this will give them the chance to get actively involved in shaping their own futures.”
“Adults got us into this mess and they are not necessarily going to get us out of it.”
Coun Leigh, Bassetlaw Council’s Young Persons Ambassador, and council officers talked with pupils at Outwood Academy Portland over the effects of anti-social behaviour in the community.
The first Youth Council will meet on 12th July at the Assembly Room in Queen’s Buildings at 6pm.
For more information call Coun Leigh on 07535 783384.