Island Pulse would like to welcome Robert Selby, who will be supplying diary accounts in his role of Youth MP for the Isle of Wight. Robert will detail youth council meetings, conferences and House of Commons debates that he will attend over the next two years.
First meeting at the Council on the 20th December 2012:
Arrived at the Council in Newport at 5.00pm.
This was the official first meeting of the newly elected Youth council, met Tessa Kewell, who is 18. She has been in the Council for 4 years! Some other members came (usually accompanied by parents), and sat in the waiting room.
Eventually we walked up the stairs to the council chamber, where there was a big square table with microphones attached. The chamber was quite large with a projector screen, I was very excited. I sat next to Aaron Wilkins (who also ran for MYP), he is quite reserved but bright. The members from East Wight were late due to the the awful flooding. Andy Newman (the organiser) gave us an introduction about the role of the Youth Council.
Later on it was emphasised by Andy that there was significant cuts to council officers which further limits our resources and what we can achieve, Sharon Kingsman was supportive. It seems that officers are blamed for most things. Only one month ago a few officers were suspended over delays to complete the new £32m Cowes Enterprise College building, but I have seen that to cut costs the Council did not employ a project manager. This added a rather dark edge to proceedings as the council leader David Pugh and chief executive Steve Beynon walked in. Pugh explained that: ‘many problems on the Island are youth-related’, which is true.
Following this we elected youth councillors to be Chairman, Vice-Chairman etc. Alec Webb was elected Chairman, Tessa as Vice. We decided to have this secondary position for all other posts. Aaron Wilkins and Jordan Westwood were elected secretaries, and Kieren Thompson and Natalia Kerr as treasurers.
Had a break.
Spoke with Alec Webb, Bronte Debenham and Kieren Thompson. Kieren is concerned about mental health treatment on the Island, which is extremely important to improve and also to educate more about it.
Finally, we amended the youth council constitution. The main point of this was concerning co-opted members (who are non-elected). It was agreed that there should be more members so that it could supplement the councillors who would be taking exams. The problem that was raised by many was the need for more representatives for under-represented areas such as the West Wight and Ventnor area. All the people who were on the list were from the Ryde area. I commented that: ‘there needs to be more younger members as well’, as many members are 16, 17 and 18.
Meeting finished at 7.00pm. I am very confident that we can achieve a lot over this two-year term.
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