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Big Turn Out For Town's Youth Council Elections

Wednesday April 3 2013

Cllr Tim Cheetham Cllr Tim Cheetham

MORE than 10,000 young people proved that politics are not just for the older generations by turning out to vote at this year's Barnsley Youth Council elections.

The eighth bi-annual election took place throughout February and March with 59 per cent of young people eligible to vote from the borough's secondary schools and Barnsley College casting their vote.

Cllr Tim Cheetham, said: "It’s fantastic to see that so many young people have taken part in the elections."

"I look forward to working with the Youth Council who have a big challenge on their hands as we continue to look at how we can deliver services with significant reductions in budgets."

There were 73 young people, aged 13 to 19, standing as candidates to take one of the 35 seats available.

The Youth Council has recently been involved in making some key decisions in Barnsley, such as securing the future of the Mi-card travel scheme.

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Reply Posted by Robbo on Wednesday April 3 2013 at 15:25
Load of rubbish. Having been involved in the elections in the past, the experience was that the young people that win are normally the most popular, best looking etc and the only reason young people voted in large numbers is that there was an opportunity to get out of the mundane reality of classroom work. I agree that some politics need to be taught to young people as it may stop the, "I'm voting Labour because my Dad does," culture, but lets face it, they have enough pressure to make their grades through school

Reply Posted by rainbow on Thursday April 4 2013 at 00:13
I think this is just another Labour stunt to appeal to the next generation of voters. Robbo is spot on, teach Politics in school so that young people can see through gimmicks like this and perhaps go on to make a career in politics, its better than working for a living.!!

Reply Posted by Elbbarnsley on Thursday April 4 2013 at 12:24
The youth council is non political and does not support any political party or their views. All the candidates that stand are supported by youth workers to campaign in schools and other youth settings prior to the election to ensure the voters have an informed choice! The publicity does contain any photographs of the candidates.
I agree that politics should be taught in schools but currently it's not so the youth council offers these young people a platform to get involved and have their say.
The youth council also has links to the British youth council and United Kingdom youth parliament and therefore has an in road to regional and national decision making processes.
I feel that it has helped lots of young people and that it builds young peoples confidence ans skill base.
Well done youth council.

Reply Posted by Robbo on Thursday April 4 2013 at 16:11
I am not demeaning the work carried out by the Youth Council, but as a Youth Worker that used to be involved in these elections, I am talking through experience. You cannot tell me that they are not political. Having attended National Youth Council Conferences with young people from Barnsley, it is quite clear that they are political. In order to attend through schools, the Candidates have to be fairly high achievers to afford time off from education. They cannot and do not represent young people from their areas. An example was one time, as a voluntary youth worker, supporting a group of candidates travelling the areas to talk to other young people on the streets. The Council Youth Worker refused on countless occasions to stop to talk to groups of youths on the street. The candidates spent the whole day in a minibus and a treat to McDonalds! Why does it take so long for young people to vote? Reality is one day. Vote or miss out. Do you have to be highly educated to become a Councillor? Obviously note if ours are anything to go by. If it is going to be done, it should be fully inclusive and persistent non attenders at school should be allowed to stand. We know this doesn't happen

Reply Posted by AlexD on Thursday April 4 2013 at 16:39
Having been a youth councillor myself for two consecutive terms and having worked with the service for a while before I can safely say that it is inclusive to anyone who wishes to take part. You do not have to be the smartest or most popular. I preformed okay at school but wasn't a huge high flyer, debunking the "fact" you have to be a high achiever. I was elected thanks to a good campaign and showing I was passionate about young people's issues. Not because I was popular, quite the reverse. A significant proportion of youth councillors have also come from "fringe" groups such as goths and emos. Not always the most popular groups. It has to be said that of course some people will be elected due to popularity, but this just reflects adult politics. A key example being the position of London mayor who is by and large elected on a personality basis rather than policies. The idea that it is also a Labour plot is laughable. Admittedly there is a long list of ridiculous things labour has done but this isnt some indoctrination course. I myself do not support Labour and though some councillors support Labour, others support both the other two "main" parties as well as "smaller" parties. This is also all redundant as the youth council is not political. Not once in my two terms was I given any political agenda. The youth council focuses on young peoples issues and is a forum for our ideas. The council has personally helped me gain self confidence and how to make a point as you can probably deduce here. If nothing else it would be nice to encourage young people to be involved in organisations like this rather than them being scapegoated as theives and delinquents. The high vote turn out is also a positive and if young people are encouraged to vote young hopefully it will translate into voting in general elections etc. Maybe then we could have a generation that actually voted and can legitimately complain about a government, rather than the significated proportion of people who don't vote currently and then complain when the government shafts them.

Reply Posted by Elbbarnsley on Thursday April 4 2013 at 19:13
Here here AlexD! I can myself also having links with the youth council fully agree with what AlexD is saying.
These elections have been going on for many years now and have improved each time. Changes are constantly being made by the support workers on how the young people are supported, elected and how the voting takes place.
The young people who put themselves forward as candidates are supported to campaign in schools, areas and groups that are safe and that they choose.
Non of the candidates are hand picked nor are they just the best educated or affluent. All young people including those who are not in school, home schooled or from a minority group have the opportunity which is proactively promoted to them.
It is also very very rare that the youth councillors of today have to take time out of school to attend anything as the majority of their work takes place on an evening or weekend, including the regional and national work. Their input is voluntary and they do it because they believe in trying to make a difference and want to stand up for young people's rights.
Maybe if the local and national government changed the way the adult voting system worked the turnout at the polls would be better and people would take the time to vote.
The reason the youth council elections vote system works so well is that it is accessible to all those eligible to vote in schools, colleges and speciality settings at a time and using method that suits young people. After all that's who the youth council is for!!!

Reply Posted by BernieG on Thursday April 4 2013 at 19:58
10 years ago I was invited to stand for election for Barnsley youth council then it was ran slightly differently. I lived in the Barnsley area but attended school in Rotherham and was able to stand. This Is one way to show it wasn't a popularity competition most of the votes I received were from people I didn't know but liked what my campaign literature said ! I didn't win but got a deputy for my area in total I stood 3 times and it was always apolitical. The doors that have been opened to me through the involvement with this still keeps me head held high at 23 and proud I would advise byc to any Young Person.

Reply Posted by Andy Fleming on Friday April 5 2013 at 05:36
First of alla big congratulations to the Youth Councillors who have made some excellent points. In regards to the point made by Robbo I have to totally disagree for the majority of young people who get elected are not all 'high achievers'. . However, some are and rightfully so, for the youth council is 'open' to all young people who wish to represent their peers. The youth council's aim is to give young people a voice in Barnsley and over the years it has successfully achieved this,but as an ex youth worker anyone should know the process is not only about this but also enabling the young people to build new skills (as so well articulated by Alex D)
I currently work and live in a developing country and still have a role with young people. I can tell you this the young people in Asia would love to be given the fantastic opportunity that Barnsley is giving its young people.

I was involved managing the youth council process for a far few years and all the young people from as far back as 8 years ago still talk about it with pride and passion. I would like to say well done to all the staff involved in the processand a big congratulations to the newly elected youth councillors. I would like to also thank all the past youth councillors for all the hard work they undertook in their free time and on a voluntary basis.


Reply Posted by Robbo on Friday April 5 2013 at 16:09
Well, it looks like I have been well and truly outvoted with this topic and apologise to all who I may of caused offence to. I assure you it wasn't intended, but just stating my views from experience. It looks like things have changed since my involvement

Reply Posted by Anton dobson on Tuesday June 17 2014 at 21:49
Hi guys this is completely true i know this information due to being on the youth council since 2013 early months that was one of our main campaigns which was successful and there had been a change in the mi card maybe if you where on the youth council next year you would know about this stuff thank you

Reply Posted by Dr Debate on Tuesday June 17 2014 at 22:05
30 years ago I was involved in the old West Barnsley Education Service as a Voluntary worker with the Late Sally West. She was a very dedicated Señor youth worker. during my 10 years plus I was involved in many youth and National events.

The situation toady for the youths are greater than over 30 years ago. Remember today's youth have an opinion and will speck up more than ever. Good luck to all connected and yes they are tomorrows future.