Council debate Local Democracy Week with Haslingden pupils

Published October 20, 2021 at 15:30


Rossendale Council have celebrated Local Democracy week by hosting a mock committee with pupils from Haslingden High School to give them an insight into how decisions are made a local level. 

Local Democracy Week takes place each autumn and events and activities are organised across the country.  

Mayor of Rossendale Jackie Oakes said: “Local Democracy Week is a way of engaging people to get involved in their community, learn about democracy and have a voice in the decisions that matter for our everyday lives.  

“Young people are often overlooked and that’s why we wanted to do something to enthuse our youngsters and voters of tomorrow and demonstrate how democracy works at a local level.”  

As well as a pack which included lots of information and activities, the pupils were also able to take part in a mock-up of a real committee meeting to decide on four applications for community grants and the process involved the decision making. 

The pupils had to read and consider all the aspects involved in each application, such as how many people would benefit from the scheme and if the organisations had previously been awarded grants before making their decision. 

Year 13 pupil Olivia Doody said: “It was an extremely insightful and interesting session. I learnt how funding was attributed and the difficult decisions that have to be made. In my role as a Head Student, I’m constantly concerned with funding, so I’ll be able to put my new found skills into practise in our next meeting.” 

Mrs Powell Assistant Head teacher added: “The school council members really enjoyed working with the mayor to gain an insight into how community funding grants are allocated. 

“We believe it is vital that students are given the opportunity to explore local democracy in school so they can play a full and active role in their local communities in the future.” 

As well as this event Rossendale Council also ran a small social media campaign over the week explaining how people could get involved in local democracy and encouraging residents to make sure they are registered to vote. 

Cllr Oakes said:” It was a very interesting afternoon, and I admired the mature approach taken by the children who ranged in age from 12 to 17.  

“They realised that in awarding the money to one group they had to disappoint the other three, and that’s a heavy responsibility for committee members.  

“I took the opportunity to point out that the School Council comprises 9 pupils, and had they followed our local trend then only 3 people would have voted as the turnout in Rossendale local elections is only around 30 per cent. Consequently 3 people would have made the funding decision for the borough. Food for thought that I suggested they take home to their parents!” 


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