FENLANDER: Students discuss local issues with councillors, council officers and police at Democracy Day

11:19 01 November 2012

Brainstorming: students tackle a burning issue.

Brainstorming: students tackle a burning issue.

Archant

STUDENTS from across Fenland want more contact with councillors and better advertising of young people’s clubs, groups and activities.

They would also like to see the introduction of a quarterly poll among students, giving them the chance to vote on key issues and priorities.

Those were three of the main suggestions put forward at this year’s Democracy Day, organised by Fenland District Council and the Youth District Council.

The students also said that they should be taught about politics at a younger age and that councils needed to explain issues in a way that was easier to understand.

And they felt more needed to be done to put Fenland on the map and make people feel proud to live here.

The event brought together 50 young people from four of the district’s secondary schools at the Boathouse in Wisbech to discuss local issues with FDC councillors, senior council officers and police. The schools taking part were Wisbech Grammar, Neale-Wade, Cromwell and Sir Harry Smith.

The students were asked their views on life in Fenland, how councils can engage better with young people and how to challenge anti-social behaviour. They also had the chance to quiz the councillors and senior officers on any topic they chose at two hectic ‘political speed dating’ sessions.

All the feedback from the day is now being collected by the Youth District Council, which will seek ways of turning the ideas into positive action.

Liam Wallace, chairman of the YDC, said: “It was another very successful Democracy Day, a real eye-opener for students on how democracy and politics work.

“We’ve had plenty of positive feedback, so a big thank you to those who helped organise the day and to all who gave up their time to be speed dating victims!”

Councillor Steve Garratt, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for young people, added: “Once again the day demonstrated how much our young people care about where they live. They have lots of ideas on how to make things better and some of their questions really put us on the spot - so all credit to them for that.”

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