Young people take over town hall
Published: Wednesday 27th November 13
The borough’s youngsters took over some of Wandsworth’s top jobs, including leader of the council, last week.
In all 38 young people took the reigns of power during Takeover Day, shadowing senior councillors, council department heads, police officers and others.
The young people were taken out on visits and to meetings and advised the police on how to engage with young people on social media. As a result of the day, three young people were offered summer jobs in adult social care and IT, and others were offered help with CVs and university applications. All the youngsters now have the contact details of the person they shadowed to enable ongoing mentoring.
Takeover Day is a national event organised by the Children’s Commissioner for England which gives young people the chance to work with adults for the day and be involved in decision making.
In Wandsworth, the day was run by the Wandsworth Youth Council. Leader of the council Ravi Govindia, director of children’s services Paul Robinson, assistant director for young people and learning Sean Dunkling and deputy director of public health Velena Gilfillian were among those taking part from Wandsworth Council. Police leaders, including the borough commander and representatives of the NHS and other organisation also got involved.
Cllr Govindia was shadowed by 18-year old Murwarid Laly from Graveney School. He said:
“Murwarid was very switched on - both in terms of her confidence and her ability to express herself, and because she was aware of the local area and what its young residents need from their local council.
“She sat in on a meeting with Roehampton University and her input was very valuable. The day was a great opportunity for young people to better understand the council and how it works.”
The event builds on the work being carried out in Wandsworth to engage young people in decision making and help them reach their full potential.
The Youth Council has helped develop the Wandsworth Youth Participation Strategy and Children and Young People's Plan. It has received awards for its innovative work, including the 2012 Youth Momentum Conference, which gave more than 180 young people a chance to question local decision-makers, and the Police Youth Think Tank set up to improve relations between young people and the police.
The pictures show Cllr Govindia with Murwarid, a brainstorming session and Eva Larkai and Shanai Keddo-Campbell taking charge in the council chamber.
See more pictures from the day on the Wandsworth Youth Council Facebook page.