You can mould future: Youth Council hopes to boost Manchester vote by getting young people in politics

By Lucy Kenderdine

Young people in Manchester will be given a new voice in the community with the launch of a Youth Council this week.

Developed by and for young people it will be modelled on the two house system of British politics with an ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ house.

The Young People’s Council, consisting of 13 to 19-year-olds will be overseen by an older team of Young Peers, acting as the House of Lords, and the two will work together on ideas of democracy in action.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Lead Member for young people’s issues in Manchester City Council, said: “It’s going to be a great asset for city councillors and will help inform their decisions and policies – decisions and policies which, after all, could directly impact on these same young people for years to come.”

Manchester City Council hope that the move will ensure that young people’s views are considered and all their needs are met through the use of targeted campaigns.

Coming at a time when faith in voting and elections has been shaken by the low turnout across the country, the news highlights that it is important to inspire the next generation to want to make a difference in their community.

Councillor Battle added: “It will also give a vital voice to young people to enable them to get involved in the life of the city and will provide them with a platform to help the Council and others shape future services in the city region.”

Personal skills and improved employability will be amongst the benefits for around 40 youth councillors who will get involved with politics in the region in this way.

Nominations for councillors will be taken from Local Youth Panels and other groups with those appointed serving for one academic year.

The council’s constitution will also be amended to make way for the council as the members of the newly formed body will have the right to request an item on the agenda or look into the work programme of any Council Scrutiny Committee.

But it will be a two-way street and the committees will be able to request reports from the Manchester Youth Council also.

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