Giving Luton's young people the chance to make changes
Young people in Luton are going to be debating, campaigning and making changes in the town as part of a new youth council scheme.
Luton’s Young People’s Council (LYPC) came together for the first time last week and will hold its first official meeting in February.
The LYPC will hold regular meetings to offer members the opportunity to set their own priorities, organise campaigns and put their ideas to Luton’s elected councillors, they will have the opportunity to influence decision-making in Luton on the issues that matter most to them.
The idea for the scheme initially came from Jasmin Khanom [pictured], 19, who has lived in Dallow ward her whole life and is now studying for a degree in medicine.
She said: “I always had to travel to other places, like London, to get involved in projects that gave young people a voice, and I wondered why we didn’t have anything here in Luton.
“After speaking with our MPs, elected members and especially with the help of cllr Hazel Simmons, I lobbied to get a group like this together. I am so pleased and proud to see it all happening now.
“Young people are not just the next generation. We are not even the leaders of tomorrow. We are the leaders of today, and we can make a change right now to the way we live and the town we live in.
“This is our town, our Luton, and we have been missing something that gave young people a real voice; something with power that could really make change.
“It’s so lovely to see so many bright and passionate young people involved now and I can’t wait to see what they achieve, both as part of this project and in their careers. This is all about creating opportunities.”
In order to take their place on the council, young people were invited to submit personal statements explaining why they would like to join the LYPC and what they felt they could bring to the role.
Applicants were then shortlisted and final selection made by a panel including young people from the community, local councillors, safeguarding and children services partners.
Cllr Aslam Khan, portfolio holder for safer, stronger communities at Luton Council, said: “We already know our young people have so much to offer and so much insight to share.
"This scheme will provide a powerful channel to allow those views and ideas to reach Luton’s decision-makers directly.
“It is fantastic to see so many passionate young Lutonians coming together to consider the future of our town – a place we should all be proud to call home.
"I hope this scheme will also provide an opportunity for many of young members to develop their skills for work, community involvement and careers in local and national politics.
“I feel sure I speak for all members when I say that we very much look forward to working with our new colleagues.”