Harlow Youth Council was formed in February 2002 and is a locally elected group of 13 – 19 year olds who live in or attend school in Harlow. As a group, the Youth Council represents the views and opinions of young people in the town. It is an opportunity for all young people to have their say, through their Youth Councillor, about issues that affect them.
Harlow Youth Council is not affiliated to any political party and is therefore politically neutral.
Harlow Youth Council's aim
- To give young people in Harlow a voice in the community, at Council and public meetings and at youth and community events. A voice which will be heard and listened to by Harlow Council, providers of other services for young people and other agencies who have an interest in the views, interests and opinions of young people.
- To involve all young people, including hard-to-reach groups, in democracy through community participation, consultation and active citizenship.
- To raise the profile of young people to ensure that local decision makers recognise that young people are the future generation and therefore an important part of Harlow's future.
- To be listened to and taken seriously.
- Elections are held each year in December
- Candidates must be 13 - 19 years old
- Elections are held town wide in all secondary schools, support schools, and in some youth groups
- The election process is open to all young people age 13 to 19 who are Harlow residents or attend school in Harlow
- Elected Youth Councillors stand for 2 years and can re-stand after 2 years if they are under 20 years of age.
Full Youth Council meetings are open to the public and are held on the first working Monday of each month. The Youth Council offers specific dates throughout its calendar for the purposes of consultation with, and presentations from, other agencies and organisations. Meetings are held in the Civic Centre from 6.30pm to 8.00pm. Meeting Agendas are available on the evening unless requested in advance – for advance Agendas please contact Alan Webb on 01279 446093.
Responsibilities of a Youth Councillor
- Attend meetings: You will be expected to attend weekly evening Youth Council meetings; occasional Harlow Council meetings; school council meetings and a variety of other community meetings and events.
- Collect information about young people in Harlow, from:
- Young people themselves
- Harlow Council and Essex County Council
- Local youth organisations
- Conduct surveys and questionnaires
- Listen to young people from Harlow: You must be prepared to listen to what other young people are saying about issues that affect them. You must be prepared to feed this information to the Youth Council meetings who will then pass the information onto the adult Councillors for their consideration and action if appropriate. You will not be expected to solve problems or issues but you can report them.
- Represent young people’s views: Your views are important but you will also have to put across the views of other young people in the town –even if you don’t agree with them!
- Ensure the representation of excluded young people: Not all young people are able to put their views across very well. They could have a disability, they could have problems with the English Language, or they may simply find talking to groups of people very difficult. It’s your job to speak for them.
- Take part in training: Accredited training is available if a Youth Councillor wishes to register and complete the course work and attend the training sessions. The course is free to all elected Youth Councillors.
If elected, the Youth Councillor’s role will be:
- To give young people in Harlow a representative voice with people who provide services in the town.
- To encourage the involvement of, and discover the issues affecting, young people who are socially excluded.
- To liaise with established local youth groups and develop networks with groups outside the town, such as other Youth Councils.
- To attend Youth Council meetings and designated Harlow Council meetings regularly.
- To be aware of current issues affecting young people in Harlow, and nationally, and be prepared to listen to young peoples' views on these issues.
- To listen and respect the views of other young people.
- To act responsibly when representing the Youth Council and adhere to the Youth Council Code of Conduct at all times
- Not to be afraid to ask for help, support and advice if needed.
- To have a sense of humour!
The Youth Councillor’s role will not be party political
- Adult Councillors will be aware of the Youth Councillor’s role and should not involve Youth Councillors in party political work such as party meetings and public events.
- If a Youth Councillor is related to an elected adult Councillor they should not take part in party political work as a Youth Councillor. They may do so in their own time but they must make it clear at the party meetings they are not representing the Youth Council.
- If a Youth Councillor chooses to stand as a candidate in the adult elections, they must stand down as a Youth Councillor if elected.