FENLANDER: March school pupils create the perfect councillor during vice-chairman’s visit

BIG ears, a big mouth and a big heart: those are the “must haves” for the perfect councillor, according to a group of primary school children from March.

He or she needs to be a good listener and a clear speaker and must love local people, they said. Also essential are an open mind and a willingness to wield “the sword of truth”.

All in all, that’s a pretty tall order. But Councillor Michael Humphrey, Fenland District Council’s vice-chairman, promised – with some trepidation - to pass it on to his colleagues.

Cllr Humphrey joined the children in the Year 6 class at All Saints primary school for a special lesson arranged as part of “11 Million Takeover Day”, a national initiative aimed at encouraging children and young people to get involved with adults in local decision-making.

The lesson was organised by Fenland District Council and Young Lives, a voluntary organisation working with young people.

As well as describing the perfect councillor, the lively class also came up with a long “wish list” of things they would like to see brought in for young people in March.

Placed top of that list after a vote was a new cinema. Their other suggestions included reduced speed limits near schools and play areas and a special graffiti wall to discourage vandalism and “tagging”.

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The pupils welcomed the chance to meet Cllr Humphrey and say what they really wanted. One said: “Not many young people get the chance to meet a councillor or to tell them what we think.”

Another said: “It was nice having someone come in and work with us. We should be asked what we think more often.”

They said they hoped their ideas would be followed up, with one child commenting that “it will be a waste of time if they don’t do anything with them”.

Afterwards Cllr Humphrey said: “I really enjoyed the lesson. It was great to hear what the children thought and they came up with some really good suggestions. It’s very important for us to listen to them.”

He added: “I’ll certainly look forward to taking all their comments about the perfect councillor back to my colleagues to see what they make of them!”

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