Merton’s young people get to grips with politics

Merton’s young people will be getting the inside scoop on politics and democracy during this year’s Local Democracy Week – which kicks off on Monday 12 October – as well as celebrating the council’s launch of its brand new Youth Engagement Project on Tuesday 13 October.

The new engagement project aims to increase young people’s involvement and interest in the democratic process throughout the year. Youngsters from across the borough, along with councillors, council officers and youth workers will all be turning out for the big launch at the Chaucer Centre, in Canterbury Road, Morden, starting at 9am.

During Local Democracy Week primary school children will also be finding out what goes on behind Merton Council’s doors. Pupils will be touring the civic centre in Morden – examining the wind turbines on the roof, spending time in the phone contact room and picking up some of the buzz of working in local government. They will then enjoy tea with Merton Mayor, Cllr Nick Draper.

Students from Bishopsford School, in Lilleshall Road, plan to spend Wednesday 14 October chatting about local issues with Leader of the Council Councillor David Williams and members of the Morden Community Forum when the forum is held at the school.
Stanford and William Morris pupils are also in for a treat when Mitcham and Morden MP Siobhain McDonagh shows them around the Houses of Parliament and Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond is to visit Ursuline School in Crescent Road to talk to the children there.

Around 16 members of Merton’s Youth Parliament are getting ready to quiz both Merton Council’s cabinet and shadow cabinet members on their policies during a speed dating session on Thursday 15 October. Merton Council Leader, Councillor Williams, will open the event taking place in the civic centre committee rooms. Throughout the week members of the council’s cabinet will also be visiting local schools to explain the role of the local council.

For more information about events in Merton during Local Democracy Week go to http://www.merton.gov.uk/localdemocracyweek.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for community safety and engagement Councillor Henry Nelless said:

‘Our young people’s response to Local Democracy Week gets bigger and better every year. I am extremely encouraged to see that more and more young people in Merton are becoming interested in local government and want to get involved in the democratic process.

‘It is vital we keep our young people interested and involved in politics and local decision making so that in turn they feel able to share their thoughts and their ideas with us. After all, it is only by listening to our young residents that we can make sure we are putting their needs first and offering them the best value services possible. Hopefully some of them will feel inspired to help shape their communities and possibly even stand for election at some point in the future.’

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Notes to editors:

The Local Democracy Week campaign is about making young people aware of their local council and getting them more involved in the local democratic process.

Merton’s Community Forums were launched in 2008 and are a way in which local people can make a difference by having their say on the issues that matter most to them. There are forums for Colliers Wood and North East Mitcham, Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park and Wimbledon and residents are encouraged to attend whichever one they feel the strongest connection with.