South Ayrshire Council Conference puts youth issues in the spotlight
South Ayrshire Council has just hosted the ninth annual Youth Conference, the theme this year was 'what matters most'.
All the secondary schools in South Ayrshire were represented with around 80 children and young people coming together to discuss issues which affect them. The main topics of debate were Mental Health, Transport, Children and Young People's Rights, Curriculum for life, Democracy and Littering. These issues have also featured in surveys capturing the thoughts of around 9,500 young people over the last 12 months. There was excellent participation during the event with some of the young people highlighting what they enjoyed most: "Being able to express my opinion" "Getting to improve things for the general public" "Meeting and making new friends while learning new things" "Seeing my opinion being valued" A range of local services and national organisations were also on hand to deliver workshops and provide helpful information and advice. The conference was an opportunity to highlight the ways young people can engage and influence decision makers across South Ayrshire through local outcome improvement planning. Their views on subjects like social isolation, support for young carers and looked after young people will prove really useful. Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "The Council is committed to giving young people the best possible start in life and events like this give us important feedback. "There was a great deal of enthusiasm about the Year of Young People 2018 and what we can all do to celebrate our young people's ideas, attitudes and ambitions. I am very much looking forward to working with and hearing from more of our young people as we strive to make South Ayrshire an even better place to live." Councillor William Grant, Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning said: "The conference was inspirational and the room was filled with engaging young people who want to make a difference. "Problems were discussed but there was also a determination to find solutions which is really promising. It's clear that more young people are finding their voice and having their say and I look forward to more engagement with them in the future." Jessica Hartshorn, chair of the South Ayrshire Youth Forum added: "The youth conference is an amazing opportunity for every young person who attends. By just being at the conference the young people are listened to and making a huge difference. Organisations act upon this and young people see the change which further encourages them to get involved by speaking to officials who truly make an impact in their community".