This week, Westminster’s first Youth Voice Summit took place - with members of the Youth Council and the council’s Cabinet Members and Executive Directors coming round the table for the first time.
The council’s Children and Young People's Plan 2023-26, which launched at the beginning of this year, set out the council's ambition for all our young people to feel listened to, empowered and have opportunities to co-produce and co-design services that affect them.
This summit, chaired by The Leader, Cllr Adam Hug and Youth MPs, James Balloqui and Myra Soni enabled the Youth Council to discuss issues that matter most to them and for council's senior leaders to reflect on how they work with young people and consider the voices of young residents when designing their services.
Myra Soni, elected as Westminster Youth MP this year said:
This summit is about bridging the gap between young people and senior leaders. It’s really exciting that this is taking place for the first time and I'm looking forward to the collaboration.
Alex, member of the Youth Council, 12 years old said:
Being part of the Youth Council and taking part in meetings like this means I can showcase not just my voice but other young people’s too and provide a meaningful perspective on how to make Westminster a better place.
Topics that were discussed at the first summit included equality, diversity and inclusion; job opportunities; youth mental health and the climate crisis and senior leaders were present from services including adult social care, regeneration, children’s services and the environment.
New Youth Council Members, Onnae Ibe and Harry Minderides addressed the senior leadership team; they both spoke about the positive impact of being new members and the opportunities presented.
Councillor Tim Roca, Cabinet Member for Young People and Learning said:
The average age of a Councillor in the UK is 60 years old. It’s really important that we ensure that our young people’s voices are meaningfully heard and that’s why we are investing more in our Youth Council.
Sarah Newman, Director of Children’s Services said:
Co-production is central to how we work in Children’s Services. We have a SEND (special educational and needs) group, our Children in Care Council and our excellent Youth Council here today. All of these help amplify young people’s voices and influence services that affect young people now and into the future.
You can find out more about the Youth Council here including how to join, their priorities and how they are helping to shape council services: Youth Council | Westminster City Council
Published: 15 November 2023