Headlines: July 16th, 2009

Local councils are being invited to take part in a scheme designed to help young people learn more about what they need to know to play a part in the democratic process. The Youth of Today Local Council Shadowing programme, is to be launched in the autumn.

Councils are being invited by the British Youth Council to take part in the initiative aimed at 13 to 19 year olds who are under represented or disadvantaged. It will give them the chance to shadow their local representatives. The aim is to give the young people taking part knowledge and skills and to facilitate their involvement in the democratic process. They will also have the opportunity to tell councillors about the issues facing young people.

The Youth of Today is a consortium working together to increase the quality and range of opportunities for young people to be leaders of change in their communities. It is funded by the Department of Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Communities and Local Government. The shadowing scheme is one of a number of programmes it will launch over the next two years.

The British Youth Council said the shadowing scheme would provide the young participants with ‘a unique opportunity for young people to engage with councillors face to face and challenge some of the negative media stereotypes, which they constantly meet.’ The Council has put in place an assessment system to help councils that have expressed an interest in taking part. It covers a range of factors which it believes may grow and change as the scheme takes off.