LAST Friday, a group of primary and secondary school children took over Salford City Council, to decide which charity the incoming Ceremonial Mayor Peter Connor should support over the coming year.
The takeover day saw children from Albion Academy, Buile Hill, Harrop Fold, Peel Hall and Lewis Street schools give presentations to each other, as well as City Mayor Paul Dennett, on their chosen charities.
After voting in a parliamentary-style, complete with ballot boxes and a division of assembly, the kids choose Salford Emmaus, a charity which works to end homelessness, as their choice for the Ceremonial Mayor’s charity.
— Buile Hill School (@BuileHillVAC) 10 March 2017
Councillor Lisa Stone, Salford Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, who organised the takeover day, said: “The presentations were absolutely brilliant.
“These young people were standing up in the council chamber and speaking. I still get nervous sometimes and I’ve been a councillor for six years.
“It was clear was that the main theme of the day was social responsibility. Every single group referenced poverty, food banks and homelessness. I found it really, really impressive.”
— Salford City Council (@SalfordCouncil) 9 March 2017
Councillor Stone, who was keen to make the takeover day about more than just policy and paperwork, said: “You know what? What we do is really boring.
“There was no way that going to meetings and answering emails was going to keep these young people entertained for the whole day.
“Which is why we decided on the Ceremonial Mayor’s charities. We felt it was a meaningful decision that the kids could make, which we thought would really resonate with them.”
As well as voting for their favourite charity, young people from the Youth Council toured the town hall, interviewing Paul Dennett and members of council staff, posting the results on Facebook Live.
Councillor Stone said: “The final aspect of the takeover day involved me being a bit naughty. I decided that we should play a prank on City Mayor Paul Dennett.
City Mayor Paul Dennett, who was impressed and unnerved by kids’ innovative prank, said: “I am continually impressed by the quality of work done by many youth groups in Salford.
“This has been an excellent opportunity to bring these young people ‘behind the scenes’ at council and let them know that as a public institution local government belongs to them.”
— Salford City College (@salfordcc) 9 March 2017