Council keen to communicate with young folk

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ANGUS Council is considering new ways to communicate with the county’s young people to ensure they can influence matters which affect their lives.

A meeting of the council’s Education Committee on Wednesday heard that work has been carried out in Angus in the past to ensure the voices of county’s young citizens are heard.

However, developments in social media, and feedback from young people themselves, has indicated that the council must find new ways to engage with them.

Education convener Sheena Welsh said: “The council is committed to ensuring that children and young people’s thoughts and feelings are considered in making decisions about their lives and communities. We must encourage young people to participate and engage with public bodies to improve and develop services, and to ensure we are able to respond to their needs.

“Angus has a good record of engaging with its young people, and many young people have been extremely active in the past on bodies such as the Angus Youth Congress.

“However feedback tells us that this model no longer suits the needs of young people, and that they wish to be consulted in a more informal manner.

“The growth of social media offers the council and its partners an excellent opportunity to change the way we engage with our young people in response to their own views. The challenge for all public bodies including councils and community planning partnerships is to harnesses the potential of new communications technologies.

“Work is already under way in Angus to develop social media as a vehicle for engaging with young people, and we will continue to develop this in consultation with young people themselves.”

The committee also agreed that the Director of Education should undertake an evaluation of the impact of the Angus Youth Charter.

The charter was launched in 2007, committing all partner agencies to ensuring that young people have regular access to information on matters that affect their lives. The Youth Charter also committed partners to creating opportunities for young people to air their opinions on a wide range of topics and exert influence over a range of decisions that affect their lives. This evaluation will be led by young people themselves, with the support of community learning and development and partner colleagues.