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Young People Invited to Sign Up for Youth Council

01 February 2016

Local young people from Derry and Strabane are being invited to have their say in what goes on in their local area by joining Council’s new Youth Council.

Places are open to young people across Derry and Strabane aged from 14 – 18 and the body will provide a platform for anyone with views about how they can improve their area. Managed by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Western Area Youth Service, the Youth Council will provide a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about Council business.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Elisha McCallion, said she hopes to see plenty of interest from local teenagers. “The Youth Council offers a great chance for teenagers to tell us more about what would make a difference to the lives of young people in the Derry and Strabane area.

“As we prepare for our European Youth Capital bid the Youth Council will play such an important role in providing a united voice for the young people of the district and achieving change through engaging with the democratic process and expressing their views effectively. We have such a young population in our council area and their opinions really do count.”

Director of Legacy with Council, Oonagh McGillion, said the Youth Council would play a key role in the content of the forthcoming European Youth Capital bid for the district. “I am delighted to see the return of the Youth Council and I really look forward to engaging with the new members and finding out their aspirations for the city if we achieve the title of European Youth Capital 2019.

“We really value their input so we can achieve the very best on behalf of our talented and ambitious young people.”

Youth Council members will be involved in influencing a range of Council events and programmes including Festival and Events Programming, the European Youth Capital Bid for 2019, Community Planning, Leisure Services and development, and a wide range of other council programmes and services.

There has been much positive feedback from previous Youth Council members about their experiences, and one former member, Martin Dunne, said it had been a fantastic learning experience. “I was a member of the previous Foyle Youth Council run by Derry City Council and WELB Youth Service and in my time I have learned skills that I could not think to have experienced elsewhere. I have also met with many people from across various backgrounds and these experiences have allowed me to become more open minded of people and life. It has become an important part of my life and I don’t think I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Youth Council.”

Fellow Youth Council member Alex Doherty said the body succeeded in bringing people from all backgrounds together. “I was a member of the previous Foyle Youth Council and during my time as a member I gained so many things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

“Not only is there a chance to make a huge difference within our own city, but a chance to make unbreakable bounds between the young people of our communities and bring them together in a way which has never been done before.”

 Because of the large geographical Council area there will be a Derry City based Youth Council and a Strabane District based Youth Council to ensure that the distinct and diverse needs of young people living in these areas are heard.

Both Councils will meet separately on a weekly basis, and will meet together on a regular basis to identify and resolve common issues and ensure synergy moving forward in the new Council. Everyone is welcome to apply regardless of background, abilities or interests.

For more information and application form visit: derrystrabane.com/youthcouncil or telephone: 028 71 253253. Deadline for applications 19th February 2016.

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