Boston Spa parish council seeks young representatives

Boston Spa village hall.
Boston Spa village hall.

Boston Spa parish council is recruiting young people from the village to represent their age group at meetings.

Raised at several previous council meetings, moves are now being made to bring young representatives on board with the plans.

Coun Marina Heum, who is heading up the scheme, has approached Boston Spa School sixth form with a view to getting them on board and possibly highlighting some likely candidates for the role.

She said: “It was mentioned about two months ago when we were talking about involving people in the community with what we do.

“We are looking at ways to help young people in the village and focus on the things they are looking for. This is so the parish council is representative of everybody in Boston Spa.

“We are looking for two representatives aged 16 to 18 who ideally live in the village who will have a voice on the council but won’t be able to vote or anything like that.”

The neighbourhood plan for Boston Spa, which will be presented in a public exhibition on July 11 and 12, included a survey involving young people and where they might meet and what things they might like to do.

Highlighted as the survey was taking place, the attempts to bring young people onto the council are a response to answers given by the public.

Though they won’t have a vote on the parish council, it is hoped that their presence will give young people from Boston Spa a voice in the running of the village, allowing them to have a say in decisions.

The council traditionally deals with planning applications, community schemes like the WiSE cafe, new initiatives such as the hydro project, and receive a crime report at the monthly meetings.

With young representatives on the council, however, it is hoped that issues affecting children and young people, such as facilities, places to meet, and activities during school holidays, are properly addressed.

According to the Local Government Association, giving young people more influence over services available to them gets them more engaged in their communities and encourages positive activities.

And, from recent figures released by the Labour Force Survey, it is clear that the number of young people who feel disengaged with local government is steadily dropping and has fallen by 44 per cent over the last five years.

Ward Coun Gerald Wilkinson (Con) said: “If a young person is interested in being a councillor and has the commitment and dedication needed I would fully support them.”