Young people to take part in democracy events

YOUNG people in Londonderry are being given a unique insight into how local government works through a series of initiatives organised by Derry City Council as part of Local Democracy Week (11-15 October).

Schools across the Council area have been contacted to participate in the events which will give them an opportunity to meet with the Mayor and elected representatives, visit the Guildhall, find out how the Council operates and the importance of voting and making your views heard on local issues.

Mayor Colum Eastwood is fully behind the initiative, saying its important that Council engages with young people on the importance of democracy and local government and to assist them get a better understanding of local government.

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"Local Democracy Week puts young people at the heart of local decision making process and allowing them to get involved in the process.

"It actively encourages young people to get involved in civic life and to make Councils more relevant to young people. The initiative aims to increase councillor involvement in citizenship teaching in schools and to encourage the Council to devolve power to local people.

"It's a great way for everyone involved to exchange views, learn something about how local decision making works while providing a fresh perspective on local issues," he said.

Among the events scheduled for Local Democracy Week is a fun and educational treasure hunt for primary schoolchildren, followed by a debate with local councillors.

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Secondary school pupils will take part in a Council of Councils conference that will provide them with an opportunity discuss issues that concern them and work closely with Council officers and elected members on a wide range of Council related issues.

There will be a youth question time where the Mayor will be joined by a panel of officers and elected members to take about the City of Culture and the city's bid for European Youth Capital status.

Mayor Eastwood concluded: "This is a great event, not only for the participating schools and the young people involved, but for the elected members and Council officers.

"It's a chance for us to hear what the young people of this city think about Council and the City of Culture and what they expect us as decision makers to do for them. I am really looking forward to it."

Further information for schools is available by contacting Eveyln Huey, Members Services Officer with Derry City Council at 028 7136 5151.