A variety of projects take place within the District each October as part of Local Democracy Week to help increase awareness and involvement in democracy at a local level
Local Democracy Week, 15th to 21st October 2012
People of all ages had their say in Local Democracy Week, 15-21 October, with a range of activities organised by St Albans City and District Council.
Different events took place around the city and district in town centres, schools and at the council building.
18 District Councillors visited six local secondary schools to take part in ‘Question Time’ panels. Students quizzed the panellists on a wide range of topics covering local and national issues. Councillors visited Verulam School, Townsend School, Sandringham School, St Albans’ School, Nicholas Breakspear School and St Albans Girls School.
The Mayor ran a competition inviting primary school children to draw a picture about what they would do if they were Prime Minister for a day. The winning picture was created by a pupil at Grove Junior School. The pupil’s prize was an invitation to visit the Mayor's Parlour for tea and cake with four of her school-friends. The young people had a tour of the Council Chamber, tried on the Mayor's robes and learned about the Mayor's role and its history.
Cllr Eileen Harris, Mayor of St Albans City and District, said: “The young people came up with many excellent ideas of what they would do if they were Prime Minister for a day. It was great to see them thinking how they would like to improve people’s lives.”
A 'Local Democracy Wall' was displayed in the centre of Harpenden and St Albans during the week. Residents were invited to add their innovative suggestions for what they would do if they were councillors in the district. A-level Citizenship students from Oaklands College encouraged people to contribute to the wall. The ideas will be included in a Local Democracy report to be sent to councillors and posted on the Council’s website.
Radio Verulam and the Council hosted a special edition of “Your Questions” in the Council Chamber on Friday 19 October. A variety of questions that were submitted by residents were put to a panel that included councillors, young people and a representative from the older people’s forum. The panellists debated questions on topics including:
Local Democracy Week, 10 to 16 October 2011
Three youth councils in the district invited local district councillors to participate in a “time for questions” panel evening held in the District Council Chamber on Wednesday 12 October 2011.
The audience consisted of members of the youth councils, five pupils from each local school and five members from each youth club, who were invited to hear the questions and answers. In addition district councillors, county councillors for St Albans District, County Council cabinet members for childrens’ services and health were also invited.
Question themes included:-
• Financial education in schools
• Funding for counselling in schools
• Lack of clarity for choices other than university
• Local transport
• School league tables
• Internship opportunities
• How all of the above can have an impact on the mental health of young people
The panel consisted of Councillors Daly, Donald, Quagliozzi and Grover plus a representative from each of the three youth councils and was chaired by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Geoff Harrison.
Ellie Tyler of Harpenden Youth Town Council commented: “It was really valuable to have Youth Councillors sitting on the same panel as District Councillors. The level of interaction we had from the panel and the audience was really encouraging.”
Hugh Baillie Lane of St Albans Youth Council commented: “It was a great opportunity for young people to air their opinions on issues relevant to them with local decision-makers there to listen and take on board our views. It was especially important to have the chance to highlight the subject of good mental health, because it is such a massive issue for young people locally.”
Megan Crawley of Redbourn Youth Council commented: “I was particularly glad to see so many young people in the audience taking part in the discussion. The interest that they showed in the issues raised really gave the youth councillors more confidence in expressing opinions and ideas about how we can improve mental health in young people locally."
The three Youth Councils within the District are supported by Hertfordshire Youth Connexions, St Albans City and District Council, Harpenden Town Council and Redbourn Parish Council.
In addition to this event, panels made up of 18 district councillors visited eight schools as part of Local Democracy Week. The young people were able to quiz the panelists on a wide range of topics covering local and national issues.
The Schools visited included: Marlborough School, Roundwood School, St Albans School, Sandringham School, Townsend School, Francis Bacon Maths and Computer College, St Columba’s College, St Albans Girls School.
The councilors who made up the panels visiting schools included: Cllrs Brazier, G. Churchard, Clark, Daly, Donald, Gaygusuz, Grover, Heritage, Lee, Myland, Perks, Quagliozzi, Rowlands, Swendell, Wakely, Wartenberg, White, Witherick,