‘We’re passionate about giving the young people of Chippenham a voice’, says Isabelle Pettinger, 17, a member of the youth council, ‘and working on our community to make it a better place.’
‘We understand that nowadays young people are less inclined to use their voices’, laments Isabelle, ‘and we need to encourage voices to be used because we’re going to be the ones making the impact in years to come.’
After a Youth Forum in December 2019 it was decided that Chippenham Youth Council (CYC) would be set up.
Chippenham Council states that ‘they felt it important to get youth representation in the town and allow young people to speak out and engage on things for future generations’.
So, in January 2020 the Youth Council was formed, and though COVID-19 meant much of their activity had to be suspended, they soon got back to work, carrying out their meetings remotely.
‘We’ve seen the impact, we’re starting to work on things, and we can see things getting done’, states Isabelle of their recent meetings.
Thus far, the CYC have worked with Stanley Park, who support people with mental health issues, Chippenham Museum, and Wiltshire’s Police Cadets.
Having realised that a number of the CYC’s ideas overlap with the Police Cadets’, there is hope for a collaborative project later this year.
At present, CYC is working hard to create and give a presentation to schoolchildren to raise awareness about homelessness in the town.
Now, the council is calling for young people in Chippenham to get involved. They are currently accepting applications from young people, between 10 and 18, who are passionate about the community.
Application forms can be found by following the link below. There is currently no deadline for applications, but ideally CYC are looking to have a full team ready for September 2021.
Words by Jonathan R Parsonage