Chichester primary school councillor scheme receives national recognition

A CHICHESTER project that encourages primary school children to become councillors for the day has been nationally recognised – because of its innovative approach to youth participation.

Chichester District Council is one of five organisations chosen by the British Youth Council to receive its prestigious ‘innovation award’.

“Primary school children from across the district spend the day at the council every three to four months. They create their own political parties, manifestos, rosettes and banners and then take part in mock elections,” said a council spokesman.

“They also hold a ‘big debate’ on council services or local issues ranging from ‘should we have dog licences’ to ‘what activities should the council provide to encourage healthy living’.”

Before they attended, the schools researched their topic, ready to debate the issue in the council’s chamber – where they eventually voted for their preferred option.

This was chaired by a district council member.

The focus of the day was to understand the work of the council and help them to understand how decision making worked and the democratic process.

The Youth On Board Awards celebrated organisations, projects and individuals that supported youth participation in innovative and exciting ways.