Hastings District Youth Council gets down to business.
A full calendar of events and projects has been put together by the Hastings District Youth Council – and these young motivated councillors will be motoring to get through it.
At its meeting this month, the youth councillors signed off their annual plan and got onto working out how to achieve all the aims before they broke for senior exams in October.
On the ‘to do’ list are a skate event, a Colour Run, the annual Youth Potential Awards, the allocation of Youth Grants, fundraising, and ongoing social media management highlighting the work the youth council does and getting messages out to the district’s youth.
Under the leadership of Chairperson Ella Hoogerbrug, the 22 members volunteered to be on working groups for each of the projects.
Each year, applications from senior students (years 12 and 13) at Hastings high schools and colleges are called for the Youth Council. Year 12 students often stay on for a second year, giving continuity to the council.
Hastings District Council community facilities and programmes group manager Alison Banks said the members of the Youth Council are always highly engaged, enthusiastic, and often across a large range of activities.
“Often these kids are fully involved in a range of school and out-of-school activities but they are very motivated and work very hard to achieve the commitments they have made to the Youth Council as well. We are very much looking forward to seeing their achievements this year.”
As well as putting their efforts into events and programmes, the Youth Council also acts as a conduit between youth and the full Council. At this month’s meeting, they met with the staff responsible for putting together the Long Term Plan for Council’s consideration.
“They had some excellent feedback on the various initiatives, and it is a viewpoint that perhaps we find it more difficult to get,” said Mrs Banks.
During the discussion on the Long Term Plan, the main concerns raised by the Youth Council members included continuing to improve the ‘vibe’ in the city centre, transport, looking after the environment, employment, and mental health. They asked staff to help them arrange speakers on some of those topics to present to the Youth Council at some of its monthly meetings.
Councillor Malcolm Dixon, who attends the Youth Council meetings as the Council advisor, said the youth had put a lot of thought into their concerns and suggestions for addressing them. “These young people are committed to their community and committed to finding ways to make improvements to our district and society in general. They are a very impressive group who will no doubt be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the Youth Council have three very important roles; giving feedback with a youth perspective to Hastings District Council, running youth-focussed events and programmes, and giving senior students a taste of political life.
“These young people are passionate, highly motivated and care very much for their community. They are our future leaders.” said Mrs Hazlehurst.