Pupils from across Stoke-on-Trent are casting their votes on a blueprint that is transforming the city, as part of a week of activities to promote local democracy.
More than 150 nine and 10 year olds have today (Monday 15 October) been taken on a tour of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s council chamber where key decisions about the future of the city are made, and the Lord Mayor’s parlour where civic guests are received, on Monday (15 October) to help celebrate Local Democracy Week.
The met council leader Mohammed Pervez, Lord Mayor Terry Crowe, cabinet members and other councillors for a full afternoon of activities to show how councils and democracy works.
They found out about Mandate for Change, the authority’s pledge to make Stoke-on-Trent a great working city and great place to be, and what it means for young people.
It was the first of two schools events taking place during the week – on Friday (17 October) it will be the turn of high school pupils from across the city to be welcomed to the Kings Hall to meet council leaders and tour the council building.
Councillor Pervez said: “We recognise that young people are the future of our city and I look to our children as the potential leaders of Stoke-on-Trent in the coming years.
“That is why it is vital that we engage young people as much as possible and let them see democracy in action. It is great that we are reaching out to so many young people throughout the week.
“We’ll be explaining the importance of Mandate for Change and how it is helping young people and their families. Our vision will help to deliver more jobs for young people, their friends and families, and more apprenticeships and training opportunities. It will help to create higher wages, make the city a better place to live in, with more fun things to do, with modernised schools and colleges and safer streets and neighbourhoods.
“As part of this, we have already spent £270m modernising or rebuilding 19 high schools, improved GCSE results, reduced the number of 16 year old school leavers who become unemployed, increased the number of apprenticeships and provided over 1,000 short breaks for children with disabilities and their families.
“In the past few months we have staged huge events like the Olympic Torch Relay and concerts in Hanley Park. We’ve also made progress with the new University Quarter and started work on a new city centre, bus station and shopping complex.
“Young people are crucial to the success of Mandate for Change. Well educated, skilled young people will attract new businesses to our city. We also need young people to care about their communities and be prepared to get involved in things.”
Activities on Monday will involve pupils from 39 schools. They will take part in discussions with cabinet members and other councillors about what is good about living in Stoke-on-Trent, and what else needs to be done to make the city a great place for children and young people.
The pupils are being given the chance to cast their vote in a polling station specially set up for the day, using ballot papers and a ballot box – similar to how their parents and older brothers and sisters may do on November 15 to vote for the area’s first police and crime commissioner.
Pupils from Trentham High School and Birches Head High School are helping to compere the events. Fourteen-year-old Adam Bagguley, who attends Birches Head High School, said: "I was part of the team hosting the event today (Monday). I presented one of the activities which will involve the young people making decisions for the city. This is a great way for young people to get involved in how democracy works in Stoke-on-Trent and helps me to be a part of it.”
For more information contact Andrew Brunt in the press office on 01782 232671.