Dec 05 2012

Harrow Council Hold Summit to Engage with the Future Generation

Young people from across the borough came together to help shape local democracy and share their ideas and concerns with community leaders at a youth summit organised by Harrow Council.

More than 200 young people packed into the Kadwar Patidar Centre last week (29th November) to meet local businesses, councillors and community leaders at this year’s Harrow Youth Summit.

Young people aged between 12 and 19, from a range of schools in the borough, came together to discuss effective ways of engaging young people in local politics. The summit was organised by Harrow Youth Parliament, with support from Harrow Council’s Youth Development Team, to address recommendations from a scrutiny report presented to cabinet in July 2012. The report addresses effective means of engaging with young people, and how the council could support them to get ready for work.

Attendees took part in round table discussions where they could share ideas on topics including how youth could influence what council money is spent on, how to be more involved in their communities and how to get information about what’s available to do in the borough or where to go if they need advice. They also expressed their concerns about the job market and asked for support from the council to help them into work.

They also got to fire questions about employment, work experience and what employers look for when recruiting, at a panel of VIP’s during a miniature question time. Panelists included Cllr Sachin Shah, Harrow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Catherine Doran, Corporate Director of Children and Families, Tom Whiting, Harrow Council’s Assistant Chief Executive, Suzy Talbot, Editor of the Harrow Observer, Ash Verma from Gateway Asia ltd and Dami Olatuyi, a former Member of UK Youth Parliament.

Lukas Hitas aged 14 from Hatch End, said: “I’m a member of Harrow Youth Parliament and today has been really great. I think that a lot of people don’t really understand what Harrow Youth Parliament do, and so it’s great to have a lot of young people in one room together, so they can see what we do and see how they can influence decision makers. Hopefully it will inspire people to get more involved with their communities.”

Wesley Maunders aged 15 from Harrow Weald said: “Today has been really interesting. I didn’t even really know about Harrow Youth Parliament or how they get a say in local politics and it has definitely opened up my mind to getting more involved. It’s been really nice being able to meet new people and having everyone come together to share ideas in one place.”

Portfolio Holder for Children, Schools and Families, Cllr Mitzi Green, said: “Our young people are the decision makers of the future, and it is imperative that their voices are heard. We are always looking for new ways to engage with our young people, and the Youth Summit is just another example of how we can do this.”

Source: Harrow Council

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