Image demonstrating Northumberland students try out democracy

Northumberland students try out democracy

This week is European Local Democracy Week, and public bodies around the country are taking the opportunity to raise awareness of what democracy means, and how people can get involved.

County and local councillors in Northumberland are taking part in interactive sessions with over 1,200 school pupils from across the county - both at County Hall and out at school premises.

The sessions aim to raise young people’s awareness of how local councils work and how they can get involved in decision making in their local communities.

Students aged from 11 to 18 will see presentations about democracy and how councils work, and take part in workshops where they will explore themes around how to gain trust, and accountability.

Each session will end with a ‘question time’ with a panel formed from county and local councillors - where the young people will be able to ask questions about council services, elections and other issues relating to local democracy.

Councillor Richard Dodd, business chair of Northumberland County Council, said: “Local Democracy Week is a great way of engaging young people in local politics.  It’s also a really good way for them to see where the big decisions are made which affect their local communities.

“These events will hopefully encourage young people to voice their opinions on things that interest or affect them and will help them to understand the role of the council and of local and county councillors.

“I’m sure we’ll have some fantastic questions from the students and it will be great to see them enthusiastic to get involved in local issues.”

Schools taking part in this year’s five day programme are: Barndale House School, Alnwick; Bede Academy, Blyth; Bellingham Middle School; Berwick Middle School; Chantry Middle School, Morpeth; Dr Thomlinson CofE Middle School, Rothbury; Hexham Middle School; Highfield Middle School, Prudhoe; NCEA Duke’s Secondary School, Ashington; and Newminster Middle School, Morpeth. 

Local Democracy Week in Northumberland is coordinated by Northumberland County Council’s democratic services and youth service teams, in conjunction with schools in the county.

It runs nationally from Monday 14 October to Sunday 20 October and during the week councils across the country will be hosting events to engage thousands of young people.
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