Quotes from young people in Kirklees about local democracy

Quotes from young people in Kirklees about local democracy

Here are some of the things that young people told us in our group discussion with Kirklees Youth Council on 2nd November 2016:

Councillor engagement with young people

“We’re in the background and they don’t really see us. They see all young people as problems – young people are meant to do bad things, but some of us don’t. Some of us want to help our community.”

“We don’t understand the language, so people think we aren’t qualified to participate in discussions about the local community.”

Access to information

“Before I got involved, I didn’t know what an MP was or what a councillor was. I didn’t know that if you have local issues you can go straight to your councillor.”

“It would be helpful for young people to learn the basics, to learn the system and about local democracy. And about national politics – they are both important.”

Votes at 16

“If I could vote it would be like we had a voice.”

“Lots of decisions that are being made now will affect us as adults, as students taking out loans or as apprentices looking for jobs. It’s our futures that will be decided by what’s going on right now.”

“Being able to buy a firework at 16 is not a human right, but being able to vote is…”

Digital technology and democracy

“Real engagement comes from talking to people. [Social media is] a good way to draw people in, but to actually get people involved you’ve got to talk to them, which is why councillors are so important.”

“Even though I use my phone 99.9% of the time, I would still rather talk to a councillor or an MP face to face.”

What is the one thing that Kirklees Democracy Commission can do to help young people get involved in local democracy and get their voice heard?

“Tell councillors to take more time to talk to us and to listen to us – they are a bit distanced from us.”

“Councillors should go out of their way to meet people at school and inform them what’s happening and how it works. That’s the only way everyone can get involved – by understanding how local democracy works.”

“Make time for us in some way. We do need to put some effort in, but they need to put some effort in. And it should be the same amount of effort.”

Kirklees Youth Council’s evidence

Evidence index

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