Durham County Council has been running a range of schemes to get young people involved in its decision-making processes.
The council, its 14 Action Area Partnerships (AAPs), and other organisations have been working together, and using a variety of methods, to engage with County Durham’s youngsters.
The Area Action Partnerships are forums set up by the council to involve local people in decision making. They aim to give locals a greater say on how services are delivered and to give organisations – like the police and fire services, voluntary groups and healthcare providers – a chance to talk directly to communities.
During the last year, for the first time, young people aged 11 or over who are living or attending school in County Durham, have been able to take part in voting for AAP priorities in their area.
The Teesdale and Three Towns AAPs have encouraged young people to fill in applications for small grants funding while other youngsters have been given responsibility for appraising and approving these submissions.
In mid-Durham, members of the Youth Area Committee, which includes young people from six different villages, have been working with their local AAP for a number of years. The AAP also regularly works with primary and secondary schools.
Mid Durham and Stanley AAPs have a young persons’ representative on their boards. The Stanley rep, Liam Bell, has received a Chairman’s Medal as a reward for his voluntary work.
Yesterday, Durham County Council’s cabinet members heard a report outlining how a number of organisations – such as the County Durham Economic Partnership, the Children and Families Partnership, the Health and Wellbeing Board, and the Safe Durham Partnership Board – are involving young people in their work.
Other initiatives involving young people include the council’s participation in the Erasmus + programme. As part of this programme, five council apprentices spent two weeks working in Gothenburg, Sweden, alongside their Swedish counterparts.
Another programme, the Student Voice Survey, involved over 8000 secondary school pupils. The council has also got youngsters involved in designing the branding and logos for the 0 to 19 Health Visiting and School Nursing Service.