Young people from Londonderry and Strabane are being invited to have their say in what happens in their area by joining the new Youth Council.
Places are open to young people across Londonderry and Strabane for those aged 14 to 18 years of age. The body will provide a platform for anyone with views about how they can improve their area.
Managed by Derry City and Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Western Area Youth Service, the Youth Council will provide opportunities to meet new people and learn more about council business.
It was officially launched on Friday by the Mayor, Elisha McCallion, who said she hoped to see plenty of interest.
“The Youth Council offers a great chance for teenagers to tell us more about what would make a difference to the lives of young people in the Derry and Strabane area.
“As we prepare for our European Youth Capital bid the Youth Council will play such an important role in providing a united voice for the young people of the district and achieving change through engaging with the democratic process and expressing their views effectively. We have such a young population in our council area and their opinions really do count.”
Director of Legacy with Council, Oonagh McGillion, said the Youth Council would play a key role in the content of the forthcoming European Youth Capital bid for the district.
“I am delighted to see the return of the Youth Council and I really look forward to engaging with the new members and finding out their aspirations for the city if we achieve the title of European Youth Capital 2019.
“We really value their input so we can achieve the very best on behalf of our talented and ambitious young people.”
Because of the large geographical council area there will be a Derry City based Youth Council and a Strabane District based Youth Council to ensure that the distinct and diverse needs of young people living in these areas are heard.
Both councils will meet separately on a weekly basis, and will meet together on a regular basis to identify and resolve common issues and ensure synergy moving forward in the new council.
Everyone is welcome to apply regardless of background, abilities or interests.
Former YC member, Martin Dunne, said: “I was a member of the previous Foyle Youth Council and in my time I have learned skills that I could not think to have experienced elsewhere. I also met people from across various backgrounds and these experiences have allowed me to become more open minded.”
Fellow Youth Council member Alex Doherty said the body succeeded in bringing people from all backgrounds together. “I was a member of the previous Foyle Youth Council and during my time as a member I gained so many things that I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” said Alex.
“Not only is there a chance to make a huge difference within our own city, but a chance to make unbreakable bounds between the young people of our communities and bring them together in a way which has never been done before.”