The newly formed Lisburn Castlereagh Youth Council (LCYC) was officially launched at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn at an event attended by young people, elected members and representatives from the local community and partner organisations.
The 24 Youth Council members aged 16 - 21 years selected to serve on LCYC put themselves forward to represent the views of young people in the council area after plans for a youth council were announced in 2017 with the aim of further improving how young people can have a say on the decisions that matter to them.
Managed through a partnership involving the Education Authority (EA) Youth Service, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Lisburn and Castlereagh Community Planning Partnership and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (Community Development, PCSP, PEACE IV and Good Relations), the Youth Council will provide young people with the opportunity to become involved and engage in local areas of interest.
Speaking at the LCYC launch event, Ryan McConville, spokesperson for LCYC said: “I am so excited to speak on behalf of the Lisburn Castlereagh Youth Council. I joined the Youth Council for a similar reason to many other people involved; I wanted to be a voice for my peers and get involved in areas that I’m interested in. I’m looking forward to getting to know fellow Youth Council members now that it is in place and am optimistic about the road ahead.”
Mayor Tim Morrow commented: “This launch brings to fruition months of work by a large group of partner organisations with the same objective - to support and enable the voices of young people in our area to be heard and to influence democratic decision making.
“The other members and I look forward very much to hearing from the Lisburn Castlereagh Youth Council in the months ahead and working with them on the areas that are of interest to them and their peers.”
Alderman William Leathem, Chair of the Strategic Community Partnership said: “This is a brand new group of people who will bring forward ideas, suggestions and questions about many things. I’m delighted to see the Youth Council established now and look forward to hearing about its progress.”
Stephen Dallas, EA Deputy Head of Youth, added: “We are delighted to have assisted in establishing the Youth Council in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area and recognise its importance in giving young people a voice in the local community.
“Youth Council members will meet on a regular basis and will be involved in engaging and influencing on a range of areas during their term in office. Importantly they will have the opportunity to undertake accredited training to grow and develop skills and confidence in bringing forward young people’s views and opinions in the area.
“The Youth Council presents young people with a great opportunity to work in partnership to positively influence local decision making whilst developing in a personal capacity and I wish all Youth Council members the best of luck for their forthcoming term in office.”
Young people aged 16 – 21 from across the council area were invited to apply for LCYC in October 2017 and the application campaign was widely promoted amongst schools, youth and church groups, voluntary organisations and other education stakeholders.
Shortlisted candidates were invited to interview and 24 candidates were selected for LCYC to serve for a two year term of office.