Headlines: July 29th, 2009

Parish and town councils are stressing that they are best placed to understand and respond to the needs of young people. The National Association of Local Councils has joined forces with the Commission for Rural Communities to publish a booklet highlighting the innovative steps councils are taking to involve young people and to represent them better.

The NALC said the case studies included in the new booklet, called ‘Whatever, Yeah? – Local councils and youth provision’, suggest that many adults are unfairly cynical about young people and the contribution they can make. It also stresses that local councils are the tier of local government closest to the community and in the best position to understand its needs and to respond.

The Association said positive contacts with young people could help them feel more integrated in their communities and help them to make a positive contribution as well as reducing anti-social behaviour, which was often caused by boredom. Councillor Michael Chater, the Chairman of the NALC said: “Ensuring that the young people in their communities are involved, kept active and listened to is a key priority for many local councils. This booklet shows the importance local councils place on the role of young people but these examples are only a few of the many initiatives taken by town and parish councils.”

Case studies in the booklet include Ringwood Town Council in Hampshire, which has Student Advisors, Iver Parish Council in Buckinghamshire which has employed an Outreach Youth Worker and Beverley Town Council which has introduced an award winning ‘Buddy’ system under which young people monitor a local skate park, provide technical advice and act as the eyes and ears for organisations responsible for young people’s welfare.