Teens 'powerless to make a difference' in politics

YOUNG people are completely disenchanted with politics at both local and national level, two Salisbury sixth-formers told councillors on Thursday.

And Wiltshire Council has not succeeded in talking to them, despite its slogan “Where Everybody Matters”.

George Billinge and Ed Piggot from Bishop Wordsworth’s School told the council’s Salisbury area board: “We want to get young people interested and participating in politics but no-one is showing us how to get involved.

“How can we say our democracy is valid if 60 per cent of people our age aren’t voting?

“The main parties don’t represent them so they feel powerless to make a difference.

“We don’t know about ways that we can get involved in the community and a lot of the youth services being offered in Salisbury are essentially glorified playground activities.

“There are young people in Salisbury who are passionate about making changes to the youth services here.

“We would like a greater voice offered to us.”

Wiltshire Council is currently making youth workers redundant and will be closing its youth centres in September It is handing responsibility for providing and funding young people’s activities to its local area boards and has allocated Salisbury just £18,000 for the remainder of the financial year, and £29,700 for the whole of next year.

Salisbury City Council has set aside £5,000 for grants to youth projects and is setting up a panel of young people to identify gaps in provision, publicise the scheme, evaluate and shortlist bids for the money, and choose who it goes to.

The panel will be given an eight-hour training programme and will be mentored by one or two councillors. Anyone wanting to get involved should email a.scadden@salisburycitycouncil.gov.uk, phone 01722 342860, or just turn up at The Unit in Endless Street.

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