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Council considers appointing student advisers

Stone teenagers could become “student advisers” to town councillors as part of plans to encourage more young people to get involved with local democracy.

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Stone Town Council's office in Station Road, Stone, where the town''s police station is also based. Photo: Google

Youth councils have been set up in other areas of the country in recent years to give young people more of a say in local issues. And Ringwood Town Council in Hampshire appointed youth advisers more than a decade ago to put forward the views of younger residents to community leaders.

Stone Town Council is now considering how it can represent young people better.

Councillor Kerry Dawson put forward a proposal at a General Purposes Committee meeting earlier this month. She said: “I’ve been looking into ways we can get young people more involved in the council and the things that we do. As part of this research, I have identified a potential role for a number of student advisers who would support the council at appropriate meetings by providing advice from the perspective of younger people.

“I would ask the council for its support for me to work with the town clerk and local schools to put together a proposal which can be considered by this committee and, if supported, implemented at the Annual Meeting in May 2022.”

At Tuesday’s Management Sub-Committee meeting members agreed to work on plans for inviting student advisers to join committees that deal with environmental work and tourism and town promotion.

Management Sub-Committee chairman Councillor Jim Davies said: “Involving the young people is a good idea. We want to ensure they can be involved as much as possible.”

Councillor Dawson has recommended appointing two over-12s to each committee. The invitation would be open to those who are home-educated as well as students attending local schools.

As under-18s they would not be able to vote at council meetings but they would be able to speak to members in an advisory role and take part in active debates to help form recommendations to be considered by full council or General Purposes Committee.

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