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Mayor looking forward to Local Democracy Week

08 October 2015

Young people in Derry and Strabane will have the opportunity to show the Stormont leaders how things should be done when they enter the political arena next week for Local Democracy Week.

From October 12th -16th , the Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, will be inviting over 200 school pupils from right across the district to visit the Guildhall and give their views on local democracy.

Mayor McCallion said she looked forward to some lively debate and the opportunity to hear more about young people’s aspirations for the city. “The district here has a very young and vibrant population so it’s vital that local politicians are conscious of their views and expectations when making decisions for the city,” she stressed.

“Throughout my term I have been trying to engage with all age groups and I’m really looking forward to meeting more of the young people who will be responsible for shaping the future of Derry and Strabane.

“I would encourage all those taking part to really take this opportunity to find out how local government works and how it can empower local people and instigate change.”

Local Democracy Week is an annual European-wide campaign which aims to raise awareness about the powers and functions of local government. Pupils from both primary and secondary schools across Derry and Strabane will have the chance to meet with the Mayor and local councillors to find out more about their civic roles and duties.

In turn the politicians will be going back to the classroom for a grilling at their old schools about their political roles. From Monday schools will be visiting the Guildhall to meet with the Mayor and enjoy a number of activities including tours of the Guildhall, drawing a Portrait of the Mayor and engaging in some light hearted debate.

On Wednesday October 14th a special Young Persons’ ‘Question Time’ event will give secondary school pupils the opportunity to meet with local councillors and discuss the issues that are important to them. Thursday sees a debate around ‘Community Planning – Shaping our Plans and Services’ which will take place in the Guildhall and allow participants the opportunity to give their views on the community plan.  

Mayor McCallion said she expected to gain as much from the experience as the pupils attending the event. “Having met with so many of our young people throughout my term in office, I know they have so much to offer in terms of ideas and hopes for the city. They have a key role and have been very vocal and constructive during our current community planning campaign, and I look forward to hearing more of their views next week.

“I’m delighted to see so many schools engaging with Local Democracy Week. As politicians we are accountable to all our citizens and this is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn how we make the decisions at a local council level which we hope will have a positive impact on the lives of everyone in the district.”

To find out more about Local Democracy Week go to www.derrystrabane.com/localdemocracyweek