Local councillors going back to school

IMG 7760 - Mayor Brenda Stevenson with Oakgrove Integrated Primary School pupils, Oskar Lynch, Aodhan Friel and Oonagh Payne, during a visit to the Guildhall to meet the Mayor as part of Derry City Council's Local Democracy Week of events.  (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

IMG 7760 - Mayor Brenda Stevenson with Oakgrove Integrated Primary School pupils, Oskar Lynch, Aodhan Friel and Oonagh Payne, during a visit to the Guildhall to meet the Mayor as part of Derry City Council's Local Democracy Week of events. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

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Derry’s Councillors are set to go back to their old classrooms to get a grilling from students about political life in the city.

Meanwhile Mayor of Derry Brenda Stevenson has opened the doors of the Guildhall to school children from across the city, as part of Derry City Council’s Local Democracy Week.

Urging the city’s youth to make their voices heard during the next week, Colr. Stevenson described the annual initiative as “an excellent way to learn how decisions are made at Council level and what we are doing to make our City a great place to live”.

The Mayor said that an important element of this year’s programme for schools and colleges was explaining how Derry City Council is changing and what the new supercouncil will look like.

She stressed that the views of young people would be actively listened to during Local Democracy Week when pupils will get special tours of the Guildhall and meet the Mayor and Councillors in person.

Young people are being given the chance to meet with the Mayor and discover some interesting facts about her role in Derry.

A Young Persons’ Question Time debate will take place in the Guildhall on Wednesday (15th October) when elected representatives can expect a good grilling from their future constituents.

Councillors will also be going back into the classroom when they visit their old schools to answer yet more questions about the type of work they are doing in their local communities.

Councillor Stevenson said: “Local Democracy Week is an annual European-wide campaign that aims, on a national level, to raise young people’s awareness of how local Councils operate.

“It informs them about opportunities for taking part in local decision-making and, as a result, draws attention to how their involvement in local affairs is crucial in upholding local democracy.

“Derry City Council is offering a range of opportunities for local schools and colleges to learn more about, and get involved in, Local Democracy.”

Colr. Stevenson said that Local Democracy Week was an important opportunity for Councillors to engage with young people on a face-to-face basis about their roles, outlining how Derry City Council currently operates and how it will change moving into the new “Super Council”.

The Mayor said: “By listening to young people’s views we hope to gain a better understanding of what is important to them and help empower young people about how they can get involved in the local democratic process.

“It’s been great that so many young people have engaged in Local Democracy Week over the last few years and have made their voices heard.

“We want this year to be even better and hope that as many children and young people as possible take part in the events. Local Democracy Week is an excellent way to learn how decisions are made at Council level and what we are doing to make our City a great place to live.”

Further details can be found at www.derrycity.gov.uk/localdemocracyweek