Northumberland schools e-vote for democracy

The day of democracy at County Hall.
The day of democracy at County Hall.

Students from four Northumberland schools have been taking an active part in politics during European Local Democracy Week.

The group met councillors and officers at Northumberland County Council and participated in e-voting, discussions and a Question Time debate with a panel of politicians chaired by Coun Scott Dickinson.

The students from Ashington High School, Bedlingtonshire Community High, James Calvert Spence College, Amble, and King Edward VI, Morpeth, also heard about the work of the Northumberland Youth Cabinet and Parliament.

European Local Democracy Week 2015 aims to strengthen links between elected representatives and communities - boosting participation, knowledge, and cooperation and the exchange of good practices between communities.

Coun Scott Dickinson, business chairman at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is great that so many young people came along to the event at County Hall to see how local government works.

“The council chamber was full and the Question Time-style debate was lively, thoughtful and fun, and there was an excellent exchange of views throughout the morning covering a very wide range of topics.

“Democracy and voting matter and we encourage any young people interested in joining the Youth Cabinet and Parliament to apply before this year’s deadline.”

The Northumberland Youth Cabinet is an elected body of ten 13 to 19-year-olds, who represent the views of young people from across Northumberland within the council. The Cabinet also develop projects based on the issues that members campaigned for in their manifesto during the election. In the past, this has included topics such as climate change, youth and democracy and promoting positive images of young people.

Euan Fairweather, a student from King Edward VI School, 16, said: "Seeing the workings of the council and meeting the councillors has inspired me to take my A-Level Politics much further and use it to make a difference in the Morpeth community. Hearing the councillors' opinions on modern-day problems has influenced my understanding of their policies and adapted my views of their parties' appearance."

Any young person who wants to get involved and stand as a candidate for the Youth Cabinet or Parliament should apply before noon on Friday. For more information, contact the Youth Participation Team, Northumberland Youth Service, County Hall, Morpeth, call 01670 620320 or email
The election for the Youth Cabinet and Parliament will take place on Wednesday, December 9, with voting taking place across schools in Northumberland.