Tomorrow’s voters enjoy a citizenship lesson with a difference

Emma Robinson18th October 2009

Over 200 11-year-olds enjoyed a ‘real-life’ citizenship lesson on Thursday (15 October), as they took part in a special forum at Three Rivers District Council to mark national Local Democracy Week.

Youngsters from St Joan of Arc School in Rickmansworth had the chance to put their questions to Councillors Ann Shaw, David Sansom and Francis Durham, who participated in a lively Councillors' Question Time session. Members of staff from the Leisure, Environmental Protection and Community Safety teams finished off the morning with fun quizzes about how their work affects the local community.

12-year-old Emily and 11-year-old Lucy commented:

"It was more fun than I expected, not boring at all" and "it was interesting, I think it’s important that we know about democracy and local issues so we can make good choices".

Events of this kind have been held at Three Rivers District Council for five years running and have proved to be a great success with pupils and teachers.

Leader of Three Rivers District Council and Youth Champion, Councillor Ann Shaw, said:

"It's so important that young people start learning about democracy and citizenship at a young age, and we hope that by providing events like these we can support what they learn at school by giving them some hands-on experience of local democracy. We are always keen to welcome more young people to the Council; they are future leaders of the community and it is really important that they have the opportunity to find out more about why it is essential to vote and have a say."

Local Democracy Week (12-16 October 2009) sees hundreds of events organised across the country every year, to encourage young people to get interested and involved in local decision making.