Angus councillors say Year of Young People must be springboard for positive future

© DC Thomson

A youth council for Angus is one of the legacy aspirations from the 2018 Year of Young People which the area’s elected representatives have said must engage and celebrate the county’s younger citizens.

The new year will bring a nationwide initiative aimed at inspiring Scotland through its young people by celebrating achievements, valuing the contribution they already make and creating now opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

Angus Council has said it is fully behind YOYP2018, but some have said a considerable amount of work must be done to turn the aims into reality and councillors have stressed the programme must be a platform for the future and not simply a spotlight on youth which dims after the year is over.

Angus Council strategic director (people) Mark Armstrong said: “People from Angus are engaged as YOYP Ambassadors and will work to promote activity within Angus.

“Building on existing work with young people in Angus, officers across the council’s services are developing plans to promote YOYP2018.

“This includes work with young people and partners to develop a refreshed youth engagement strategy for the Angus Community Planning Partnership. As one of YOYP themes, the year provides an opportunity to shine a particular light on engaging young people and making sure that their voices are heard and influential.

Mr Armstrong added: “In particular it is recommended that the council works with our young people to co-design new mechanisms to effectively engage and involve our young people in the improvement of Angus and our communities.

“This could include proposals to develop a Youth Council should our young people think this would be useful and strategies and services for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including our looked-after children and young carers.

“The year provides an opportunity for a step-change in our engagement of young people in the co-design of things that matter to them,” he said.

Forfar SNP councillor Lynne Devine said: “I often think we are not working sufficiently alongside our young people and I absolutely hope that they see the need to want to meet with us as councillors since we are the ones taking decisions relating to young people.

“The Year of Young People report is very positive, hopeful and worthy of our support and I believe has the chance to turn around adult impressions of young people throughout the next year.”

Arbroath Independent Lois Speed added: “This is not just about professional roles and such like, but about our sense of humanity and how we work on what will see us through the challenges that lie ahead.

“What we also must make sure of is that this doesn’t leave behind the children who don’t take part in events but whose voice also needs to be heard.”