Giving Horsham District's young people a voice

Horsham District Council’s Community Development team have recently developed the Horsham District Youth Forum.

The local authority has set up the Youth Forum with the aim of bringing young people aged 11 to 18 together to discuss topics that are important to them at this stage in their lives and address their needs and concerns.

Commenting on the formation of the group Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Community Matters Cllr Liz Kitchen said:

We are very excited by the potential of the new Horsham District Youth Forum.

The pandemic was particularly tough for our young people and we see the Youth Forum as a vitally important tool to be used to open and encourage a two-way conversation between the young people of the District and the Council. We want to better understand the views of those individuals who represent the future of the District and, likewise, I am sure there is a hunger in the younger community to help shape future decision-making in Horsham District.

We believe that by adopting an approach primarily using social media, we will be able to establish a much wider network of engagement with this age group, though we will hold face to face meetings with them as well.

I very much look forward to meeting with some of the young people when I attend some of the forum meetings.”

A lot of the communication will also be based online and run through Instagram and Facebook pages. Over time the council's methods of engagement will develop in line with needs.

They encourage any young person who wants to be heard, has an opinion on what’s outside their front door and is willing to work to seek change to join them. They are seeking young people from across the district from youth groups, uniform groups, homeschooled or any young person who has something to say.

The first objective is to listen to young people, working with them to increase awareness of issues, promote change locally and develop the places they live across the District, working with council partners and parents.

After the first meeting some key topics raised were mental health, green and social spaces and period poverty. These subjects will be explored and addressed over our next few meetings.

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