New youth council could prevent young people fleeing Gloucestershire

new youth council could prevent young people fleeing gloucestershire - New youth council could prevent young people fleeing Gloucestershire
new youth council could prevent young people fleeing gloucestershire 1 - New youth council could prevent young people fleeing Gloucestershire

Councillors could approve new proposals to form a Gloucestershire Youth Council in a bid to prevent young people fleeing the county.

Gloucestershire County Council’s opposition group, the Liberal Democrats, said a new youth council is needed to focus on the issues important to Gloucestershire’s “un-represented young people”.

Youngsters are currently sat on more than 620 youth councils across the UK, including Stroud District Youth Council.

Youth Councils can inspect local services, sit on scrutiny panels within their local council and represent the views of local young people to decision-makers.

Gloucestershire is currently faced with a threat of being dominated by people 65-years-old or more while young people flock to bigger cities to work such as Bristol.

If nothing is done, by 2039 there will 79,000 more aged 65+, 7,000 more 18-64 year-olds and just 4,000 more 0-18 year-olds.

Lib Dem leader Paul Hodgkinson said under-18s can raise concerns County councillors may not think to as the council is “predominately made up of pensioners”.

Mr Hodgkinson (Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) said: “We all know how youth councils can benefit those involved, however I am also excited to hear our county’s talented young people provide fresh ideas to some of Gloucestershire’s most challenging issues, such as retaining and attracting the young adults that are critical for the county’s economic viability.

“We have seen with the school climate protests that our county’s young people are highly engaged, and they deserve the opportunity to raise issues that would not necessarily come to the mind of a council predominantly made up of pensioners.”

The motion, to be presented to every county councillor next week, will call for the youth council to be established by 2021 to coincide with wider elections across Gloucestershire.

Hanna Doherty, 17, a member of the Youth Parliament for the Cotswolds and Stroud, said: “I have been a member of the UK Youth Parliament since I was 14 and have really valued the experience.

“We have had the opportunity to debate items that are important to young people, such as action against knife crime and voting rights for the UK’s 1.5 million disenfranchised 16 and 17 year olds.

“Introducing a youth council in Gloucestershire will allow young people in Gloucestershire to debate the issues that are most important to them.”

There are nearly 40,000 young people, aged 11-18 in Gloucestershire.

County councillors will debate the motion on June 26, from 10am.

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