Last night I succeeded in bringing the voice of young people in the District into the Council chamber when my Motion to engage young people in the development of policy on issues of relevance to young people was passed unanimously.
As a Council we have set ourselves the mission of making North Down & Ards a District that is welcoming and inclusive for all, and that has to apply to people from all aspects of our community – and especially our younger citizens.
This Motion will ensure that we create a mechanism to involve young people in real decision making in areas of interest and relevance to them in the future.
As we develop our Community Plan we will engage in an effective and meaningful way with our young people and guarantee that where possible the solutions and ideas they develop to specific issues will be folded into our policy making decisions.
This is not to be simply a tick-box exercise, and nor is it to be a forum for would-be University applicants to add to their CVs.
It will be wide ranging encompassing ideas and contributions from young people across the District. And as they see their ideas become real in Council policy and actions, so their sense of empowerment, civic pride and engagement in developing a positive future for the District will grow.