Ben meets fellow young ‘uns at the Council

Groups of young people have been sharing their opinions on politics and politicians as part of a series of democracy events at South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).


SLDC is welcoming 84 National Citizen Service students into South Lakeland House to take part in democracy workshops during July and August.


Two workshops took place on Monday 14 July and Monday 21 July and two more are planned for Monday 4 August and Monday 18 August.


On Monday (21 July) it was the turn of students from Queen Elizabeth School, in Kirkby Lonsdale, and Dallam School, in Milnthorpe.


Students and councillors said they had found the sessions interesting and informative.


“It’s been insightful to learn about how much the council does, we’ve seen all the different departments and without them there is stuff that just wouldn’t happen,” said Jack Smith, 16.


Sarah Thompson, 16, said: “I didn’t realise just how many different departments there were, I had a bit of an idea but I have certainly learned a lot more. I think people think that the council doesn’t have much to do with their lives, but actually members of the public are able to get involved and have their say. I will definitely be voting when I am old enough.”


“I think that the local council is important because it affects every part of your life and everything you do,” said Ritchie Budd, 16.


“I think it is important to remember the Suffragettes and that they put their lives on the line so that women could have the vote. If you don’t make the most of it then you are disrespecting their memory,” said Sarah Fillingham, 15.


At the end of the visits the young people have taken part in discussions with councillors about the importance of being involved in the democratic process and how politics and local government affects their lives.


Two of South Lakeland District Councils youngest councillors met with the students to hear their views on the political process.


Councillor Ben Berry, who represents the Windermere Applethwaite and Troutbeck ward, said: “Meeting with these fellow young people has been great fun.


“Often they came in with a preconceived negative expectation of politics and politicians, but I really believe we disarmed that and built up a healthy inquisitiveness for looking past the headlines and how anyone can get involved and make a difference.”


The young people have been welcomed to Council HQ by various Council top dogs and are then taken on a tour of South Lakeland House to learn more about the different services and work of council employees.


After lunch the students attending the July events have taken part in a leisure consultation with North Country Leisure, South Lakeland’s new leisure provider.

They have also been learning about the benefits of exercise and have taken part in a ‘health check’ using various pieces of exercise equipment.


At the end of the events the young people have taken part in a discussion with councillors about the importance of being involved in the democratic process and how politics and local government affect their lives.

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