Young people of Dudley need a voice too

Last Friday I received an email from Dudley Youth Council about the ‘Big Question’ consultation on budgets and services being carried out by Dudley Council. Here is the email:

Councillors are doing a consultation with the public who are over 18 about what services to cut in the area.  Only over 18’s are allowed to say what they think because 18 years old is the voting age and when people pay council tax.

Young people (anyone under 18) don’t have a voice within the Big Question.

We think that councillors need to take into consideration that the young people of Dudley need a voice too because these decisions affect us and we are the future of Dudley. Sign our petition if you agree (anyone can sign regardless of your age) and share it on your facebook or twitter accounts:

http://cmis.dudley.gov.uk/cmis5/EPetitions/tabid/90/ID/30/The-Big-Question-Include-us-too.aspx

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child which is an agreement which the UK have signed up to in article 12 says children and young people have the right to an opinion and the right to be listened to.

700 young people told us in the Make Your Mark Ballot in October: Fund our youth services, don’t cut them. Youth services provide vital support to young people’s development, give them a meaningful role in society and provide positive and active ways for young people to spend their time.

This is one of the services that are being asked about.

Dudley Youth Council want to do something about this and make sure the voices of young people are heard within the consultation and included within the results.

Please sign our e petition to show your support and help spread the word:

http://cmis.dudley.gov.uk/cmis5/EPetitions/tabid/90/ID/30/The-Big-Question-Include-us-too.aspx

I think it’s important that children and young people have a voice about all sorts of services. Healthwatch Dudley is a local organisation which seeks to listen to children and young people, as well as adults, in relation to their experiences of health services and children’s services.

I am grateful to Siobhan Lloyd, an Officer for Youth Empowerment in Dudley Youth Service for explaining why Dudley Youth Council are focusing on youth services in this instance. Last Autumn members of Dudley Youth Council elicited the views of 8,196 young people in the borough (27% of 11-18 year olds). The top 3 issues were turned in to Dudley Youth Council’s manifesto for 2014:
  1. There should be a zero tolerance policy to bullying in schools written by students in consultation with teachers and relevant professionals that includes advice and peer support for both the victim and the bully and better training for staff about bullying.
  2. Every school pupil should have the opportunity to participate in better work experience for a minimum of one week in a field of their choice, as well as access to opportunities linking them to professionals to help inspire.
  3. Fund our youth services, don’t cut them. Youth services provide vital support to young people’s development, give them a meaningful role in society and provide positive and active ways for young people to spend their time.

youth ballot

You can see Dudley Youth Council’s Make Your Mark 2013 survey results in this report and the UK Youth Parliament full results in this report.

If you’d like to support local young people, you can sign the petition, share a link to the petition by email or social media and perhaps help us think about what we can do through engaging together to consider and create opportunities for influence for young people in our borough.

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About Lorna Prescott

Using design to make magic through @colabdudley @aplaceto_ | Curator @dofestdudley | Dudley CVS officer | RSA Public Services & Communities Fellowship Cllr

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