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Title: They're talking to the wrong people

Wolf07 - December 18, 2007 05:24 PM (GMT)
They're talking to the wrong people

KIRK Hallam councillor Louis Booth has questioned the council's commitment to youth provision - saying the perfect person to talk to young people is not involved.
Cllr Booth's son John became the youngest ever Erewash councillor in May when he was elected to represent Cotmanhay residents.

Since then he has built up an impressive portfolio of qualifications including vocational achievements on a construction apprenticeship scheme, City and Guilds certification, first aid, health and safety and lifeguard qualifications and certificates from his time at Camp America in the summer.

But Kirk Hallam ward councillor Louis claims requests for him to join the forum and help its student members were not answered.

"Why, if we are serious, haven't we engaged the youngest councillor we've ever had?" he said. "Are they really serious about engaging young people? He's got to be the highest qualified person ever to step foot in that chamber. He could talk to them, explain what's available.

"I'm not just saying this as a dad, I'm saying it because I care about young people. We've got to give respect to young people."

Lead member Cllr Carol Hart though said the forum is an open meeting and anyone is welcome to attend.

"He (Cllr John Booth] could quite easily be involved, he'd be very welcome," she added.

And a spokesman for the Erewash Youth Forum said: "Cllr John Booth has not yet contacted the lead officer for the Youth Forum, as he has been advised to do by Derbyshire County Council Youth Services. We always welcome positive support for the forum from our staff and members, so if Cllr Booth contacts the lead officer, he can
discuss future meeting dates
and his potential involvement."

Members are students from local schools - and the forum is even chaired by one of the pupils. They meet to discuss issues relevant to them and they are currently coming up with proposals for projects to undertake with the 5,000 grant allocated to them.

Their first venture earlier this year was a camera project, showing the council what they like and dislike about Erewash.

Cllr Hart added: "We are really serious about listening to them.
"We want them to do as much as possible. It's their forum, we need to encourage them to get more involved."

Representatives from various council departments, the Derbyshire Youth Service, Derbyshire Constabulary, Erewash Community Safety Partnership and the Neighbourhood Wardens service, have already given presentations to forum members, taken questions and gone away with useful feedback from the young people.

[COLOR=gray]Source Ilkeston Advertiser

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