10 young people living in Chesham from six different schools gathered in the Town Hall last night to launch the first Youth Council in the town for more than five years.
The Council, organised by local resident Joseph Baum and Councillor Emily Culverhouse, aims to give a voice to young people in the town and an opportunity for them to express their concerns to local Councillors.
The Council currently comprises 10 young people from Dr Challoners Grammar School, Chesham Grammar, Brushwood Junior School, Thomas Harding Junior School, Chartridge, Hawridge and Cholesbury and one representative from the 3rd Chesham Scouts group. They will meet every four weeks to discuss key issues in the local area and will submit a written report directly to the Town Council every six months.
After learning about the different roles and responsibilities within a Council, Members of the Council stood for election and made speeches to their peers. In a secret ballot the Council elected George Shaw from the 3rd Chesham Scouts group as Chair of the Council, Leo Clark from Chartridge School as the Vice Chair, Will Nicol from Brushwood Junior School as Treasurer and Gretel Weaver from Hawridge and Cholesbury as Secretary. A publicity team led by George Corby from Dr Challoners Grammar School was also established to help spread the word. The group also agreed to ratify the Council’s constitution in the coming weeks.
Speaking after the successful event, Joseph Baum, said, “After nine months of preparation, its great to be able to say that Chesham has a place for young people to get their voice heard. Initiatives like this are exactly what Chesham needs and will breath new life into our town. With the right leadership this can be a place where young people can directly tell our Councillors what they want to get out of their town. I’m sure Bridie, Danny, George, Gretel, Leila, Leo, Maya, Robyn, Will and George will do a great job and I look forward to working with them.”
Councillor Emily Culverhouse said:
“It was lovely to see so many young people passionate about the future of their town. These young people without knowing eachother prior to the meeting were vocal, articulate and came already armed with lots of ideas about how to involve their peers and improve things for everyone their age.”
Also in attendance were County Councillor and Cabinet Member for Communities Noel Brown, Town Mayor Jane Macbean, a former Town Councillor Gill Walker and the Town Clerk Bill Richards. All spoke about the importance of an effective Youth Council and gave examples of where young people can make a difference in the town. Issues discussed by the Council in the first meeting included making the Elgiva Theatre a more attractive destination for young people across the area, improving the lighting in the park and establishing dedicated days in the year for community related events.
Youth Councillor, George Corby, who is in year 13 at Dr Challoners said: “It was really pleasing to see how successful our inaugural meeting was. Already, we have appointed a chair, secretary and press team – and have begun to feedback proposals about Chesham to Councillors. Everyone had a huge amount to suggest: from improved lighting in Lowndes Park to a ‘Chesham’s Got Talent’ show – I for one am really excited to see what we can do over the next year!”
The group will next meet on Monday 15th October, at 16:30 and members of the public are welcome to attend.