Dunmow mayor hopes young will ‘have a voice’ through new youth council plans

Mayor Emma Marcus, at a teddy bear picnic earlier this month, organised by Dunmow Town Council . CEL

Mayor Emma Marcus, at a teddy bear picnic earlier this month, organised by Dunmow Town Council . CELIA BARTLETT PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Celia Bartlett

The mayor of Dunmow said she wants to give young people a “voice”, as her plan for a youth town council received support from fellow councillors.

Members of Great Dunmow Town Council gave Councillor Emma Marcus the green light to investigate setting up a youth council, after a 12-year-old boy at last year's Dunmow Carnival prompted her to consider the scheme.

At a town council meeting on Thursday, Cllr Marcus said: "I am keen to get it going. There have always been quite a few young people who are keen to get involved. Because we don't have much guidance on what to do I want to create a small group just to sit down and say 'is this how we want to do it?'"

She added: "A lot of young people are interested but are too young to be on the council. I think it would be a really nice way to give them a voice. We can say what we are thinking about a skate park but they might have different ideas to us."

Councillor Alan Stratton said in response: "Any interaction we have with the young people is a massive benefit. They are the next people coming through. It would be really nice not just from their perspective but for us. Ideas may come that we might not think of."

During last year's carnival, members of the public were encouraged to put their ideas for the town in a 'wishing well'. One 12-year-old boy, Cllr Marcus explained, said he wanted to be a councillor, and asked if Dunmow could have a youth town council.

"The next stage for me is to sit down with some councillors who have experience with youth councils and bat a few ideas around and then get the other people who are interested, involved," she said.

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"I want them to be a voice for the council and to let us know what is wanted and not us thinking we know. Also I think it is going to be really nice that they get the chance to try it out [being a councillor] so when they reach 18 they can join."