Peterborough youngsters encouraged to shape their future by joining Youth Council

Youngsters in Peterborough are being encouraged to help shape their futures by joining the city’s youth council.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:30 pm

The group has in recent years helped raise awareness on issues such as knife crime, mental health and the environment, while members have played their part during the coronavirus pandemic by sharing out information in secondary schools, myth-busting and supporting elderly members in their communities.

The Peterborough Youth Council is now seeking new members aged 11 to 19 with a deadline of March 28 at midnight for applications to be made.

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Peterborough Youth Council is seeking new members
Peterborough Youth Council is seeking new members

One of the current members is Ellis Morgan (17), who said: “People should get involved so they can voice their opinions. Every opinion counts. If you’re part of the youth council there are many advantages - you get to meet people of the same age who are like-minded.

“We want to change the future for the better and make new friends.

“You’ll meet councillors and take part in events. You can help the city to progress.

“Last meeting we were joined by a person from the city council who deals with culture and leisure and we discussed the next 10 years and the progression of the culture within the city and what we think will be best for youths, and what would be better for the environmental impact as well.”

The youth council met in person every month pre-pandemic, and it is hoping to boost its total of 13 members and have representation from all secondary schools.

Will Singh (17) from The King’s (The Cathedral) School featured in the recent short film.

He said: “I think it was really effective because I’ve had many people on social media, or even in the street, say ‘you’re that guy in the video’ because it’s been networked so well across many schools and colleges in Peterborough.

“It’s been played across many, many schools. Not only is it quite humbling to be part of the project and get messages out like that, but if people see a relatable youth in Peterborough being part of it, it has an effect.”

The youth council has previously organised a knife crime conference and run campaigns including working with the local authority and schools to decrease their carbon footprint and for to schools to introduce meatless Mondays.

It has also consulted with Peterborough City Council on budget cuts to youth services, as well as Peterborough’s new culture strategy.

And according to Marya Ali, youth voice worker at the council, those opinions really make a difference.

“The youth council has been the most consistent way of hearing young people’s voices in the city,” she said.

“Young people in Peterborough, no matter where you come from, you can have your voice heard.

“It’s not just a way for Peterborough City Council to hear the voices of young people, but any organisation at grassroots levels.”

Liz Morris, youth and community manager at Cambridgeshire County Council, echoed those views.

She said: “It’s really important we have that close communication and that network through the youth council to reach their peers and find out the barriers they face and find out anything we can do to better support them.

“We need to flip the narrative. There is a huge concern for youth mental health but people are labelling them as the lost generation and there’s a lot of negative rhetoric around young people.

“But we know through all that they face, all those challenges, they do have a resilience, and it’s our job to tap into that and reassure them and support and fuel that resilience and give them the tools to enable them to move forward.

“We can’t do that unless we’re actively listening to them and asking them their experiences, asking them what they need and what changes they need to progress.

“Also, the wider community should realise that young people can play a part now. It’s not just once they become adults.”

Get in touch

To apply to become a member of Peterborough Youth Council, visit: https://bit.ly/peterboroughyouthcouncil​.

Questions or queries can be emailed to: [email protected]

You can follow the youth council on Instagram @peterboroughyouthcouncil.