Nearly a hundred pupils from nine schools across Hertsmere, including one in Radlett, attended the council’s 11th Annual Youth Conference in Borehamwood last month, and had a unique and highly creative opportunity to find out more about local democracy.
Pupils from Clore Shalom School, all aged between 10 and 12 years old, joined the other schools and watched an interactive play called The Grand Plan performed by the Arc Theatre. The play followed three young people who were trying to win a competition to support a mock-charity of their choice, which aimed to teach the young people about decision-making and democracy.
There was also an interactive session called ‘What does it cost to run Hertsmere?’, which explored the financial considerations and budgeting decisions local councils have to make.
During the afternoon, participants worked in groups to decide how Hertsmere should spend and save its money and present back their budget for discussion. The young people then had an opportunity to vote on which mock charity they wanted to support as part of The Grand Plan finale.
Councillor Caroline Clapper, portfolio holder for leisure, culture and health, said: “This was another highly successful youth conference and it was great to see so many young people engaged in local democracy. During the day we spoke about the democratic system, how to make a choice and empowerment. All the young people have been really engaged, excited and interested.
“It’s so important for young people to learn about the world in which we live in and the decisions they will have to make in the future. These are our future voters, tax payers and decision makers, so it’s vital for them to understand their environment and what is going on in their community – it’s never too young to learn.
“I have been blown away by the young people who have attended. They’ve been extremely engaged and focussed contributing interesting and different ways of thinking, they’ve worked well in groups, so I couldn’t have been more impressed.”