Young people from across the county came together for the first ever Wiltshire Youth Council conference.
Forty-one candidates have been nominated from 21 schools to ensure young people’s voices are heard in all decision-making across the county.
Cabinet members met the candidates and congratulated them on their appointments and gave insight into their own areas before the young people were elected to positions and took on responsibilities.
Wiltshire Youth Councilors will meet with Wiltshire council leaders and have a say in local decisions, work with regional councils to ensure funding for youth projects has “the right impact” and consider services to ensure that they represent the best interests of young people.
They will also have the opportunity to shadow council leaders as a member of the young ghost cabinet for a particular area of interest.
Youth counselors will be asked to commit one evening per month to attend a full youth council meeting, which will focus on issues important to young people.
The role will also require them to speak to their peers about issues and represent their views. There will be training to support them in their roles, covering topics such as debating, conducting youth review/inspection and giving presentations.
The Wiltshire Youth Council has also recruited special advisers, these are young people who ensure that the views of underrepresented people are heard.
There will be special advisors advocating for different areas such as young carers, children in care, LGBTQ+ youth, and military families.
Councilor Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “It was a great opportunity to meet our new Youth Councilors and, along with members of my Cabinet, I look forward to working with them in the future.
“These young people will play an important role in our decision-making. These young people are our future and we need to make sure we listen to their views because the decisions we make today will affect everyone’s future tomorrow.”
Wiltshire Youth Councilor Zara, 13, said: ‘I really like the idea of the policy and thought it was an opportunity for young people to look at what the council is doing and to participate, making sure it works for Wiltshire but also for young people. also.”
Aayan, a 15-year-old youth councilor from Wiltshire, said: “My main problem was that I felt young people had no voice in politics and in decisions made about them. I will primarily focus on mental health issues and the impact these issues have on our generation.