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Takeover success

Young people have taken over the reins across Lancashire...

The chance to influence decision makers and their organisations/services, on a whole range of issues, was taken up by over 100 young people in Lancashire throughout November.  Lancashire County Council's 'Takeover Month' initiative builds on the national Takeover Day organised by the Children's Commissioner which took place Friday 21 November.

A number of organisations and services were involved in this year's Takeover - children and young people were provided the opportunity to 'take over' the following:

  • Chief Executive and Leader of Lancashire County Council
  • County Councillors
  • Managers of Children's Social Care
  • Lancashire Young People's Service
  • Lancashire Young Carers Conference
  • Schools
  • Public Health
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board

Matthew Tomlinson, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: "Here in Lancashire, we positively welcome the contribution young people make to civic life and their communities.  This is why we have designated November as 'take over' month.  As a council, we want to make sure young people's voices and views are heard at every level throughout the organisation.  We fully support the Children's Commissioner's initiative and, after consulting young people, we decided we should turn take over day into take over month.

An A-Level student from Cardinal Newman College, and member of the Youth Council, Maria Esslinger-Raven (17) said "Takeover was great fun and my day at County Hall gave me a lot more insight into the work that people like Jo and Jenny do on a day-to-day basis.  I'd like to think I brought a fresh angle as well, and that we learned from each other during the day."

One senior councillor who has just spent a day working with a young person is Nikki Hennessy, the county council's lead member for schools.  With the help of Kayley White, they assessed over 50 grant applications.  Nikki said, "It was an absolute pleasure to have Kayley shadowing me as part of Takeover.  She attended the panel that was looking through 58 applications for a fund of £150,000 that are suppoting local Food Banks and Food Poverty across Lancashire.  Kayley was diligent with each and every application form.  She ensured that we were applying the same criteria across the applications and was confident in putting her views across on issues that she has been involved in and had personal experience in.

"It was a long process and Kayley kept her enthusiasm for the task going right until the end for which the panel really appreciated.  Kayley was an asset to the panel and I personally valued her input and enjoyed her company.  I wish Kayley well in the future and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending her to support other groups."

Takeover evaluations are currently being received and will form a report in the new year, to share success.  When available, the report will be made available at the following page: http://www.lancashirechildrenstrust.org.uk/resources/?siteid=6274&pageid=40031

Local Democracy Week

Pupils from five primary schools in the North of the county took part in a Pupil Power Event at Lancaster Town Hall during Local Democracy Week.  The pupils were introduced to the dilemma faced by councils across the country - which services to prioritise with a limited budget.

Working alongside Lancaster city councillors and senior officers, the children were given £14m to spend, but with services on offer adding up to £18m, they had to prioritise.  The aim of the event was to allow children to get to know which services are provided and the tough decisions that need to be made when there is not enough money to fund all.

The children were also given a guided tour of the town hall, visiting the Mayor's Parlour, viewing the civic regalia and mayor's chain and passing around the Olympic Torch.  Deputy Mayor, Councillor Helen Helme answered a host of questions from the children about the mayor's role, the council and the town hall.


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