Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee are aiming to increase young people’s participation in its decision making processes.
The Committee has agreed to establish an Area Youth Forum in each of Barra, Uist and Harris while Youth Fora will also be established in Lewis that reflect communities.
Chair Angus McCormack said: "I am very pleased that we are moving forward with a view to increasing young people’s participation in the decision making processes. After all many of the decisions we make will affect them. Young people have an important contribution to make to our communities and by increasing their participation I think we will all benefit. It is particularly fitting that we are undertaking this as we approach 2018 which has been designated as the Year of Young People."
The Comhairle has for some time supported children and young people to engage with the Comhairle through pupil councils and area youth fora. More recently the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership (OHCPP) has established a Young Participation Forum and the Comhairle working with others have established specific youth appointments to focus on key areas of work such as Children’s Youth Parliament representatives (2), Inclusion Ambassador (1) and Youth Participation Worker (1). In addition, the Comhairle has appointed Cllr Norman Macdonald and Cllr Paul Steele as Youth Champions.
In order to build on this work, it is proposed initially that a formal structure for children and young people to engage in its decision making be adopted by the Comhairle and that young people be more actively engaged in scrutiny of reports relevant to them being submitted to the Comhairle with a future aspiration that there be at least two representatives nominated to attend and participate in the meetings of the Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee.