Young people from across Cornwall have taken their thoughts, feelings and ideas to the heart of Cornwall today on the issues they say will affect their future the most.
Following the meeting of Full Council, children and young people between the ages of 10 to 24 representing their peers from across the county gathered at New County Hall for a COP26 style debate with Council Leaders, to co-pledge actions on their priorities as part of their first ever Annual Conversation.
Top of the list of their priorities discussed at the event were: the environment and climate change; provision of housing and decent jobs for the future and recognition and action to improve the health and well-being of residents. The Annual Conversation will provide an opportunity for children and young people to influence decisions and get involved in solutions.
The Council’s leader Linda Taylor pledged to use these themes to shape the Council’s new business plan and engage with residents in the coming months to build on the themes identified by young people as crucial to the future of Cornwall:
• A brilliant place to be a child and grow up
• In a thriving, sustainable Cornwall that offers a secure home, a decent income and a great environment for all
• As part of vibrant, safe, supportive communities where people help each other to live well
• All supported by our Council – an empowering and enterprising organisation that delivers great value for money
The Annual Conversation follows on from the work done for the G7, which came to Cornwall in June, giving children and young people the opportunity to share their ideas on the future of Cornwall. With thousands of young people taking part in the G7, the council pledged to keep the conversation going as part of their commitment to recognising the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly their rights to be informed, be heard and have their views taken seriously.
Kicking off the debate for young people, Emily Dutson from Richard Lander School said: “We are all here working towards a common goal – giving the young people of Cornwall a voice and sparking the conversations that will mould our future.”
She added: “As part of our preparation for this evening the young people in this room had the privilege to learn about the council decision making process and the problems facing the council. We learned about what was already being done about our concerns. We have stepped into your shoes. Now its your turn to step into ours.”
Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Barbara Ellenbroek, said: “We want Cornwall to be a brilliant place for young people to grow up and thrive, but we can only do that if we listen to our children and young adults of all ages – and work with them.”
“I am proud of the work that the Council is doing to recognise the rights of all children following our creation of a Children’s Rights Approach framework, which will develop a culture which recognises the need to consider children in all areas of the council’s work. This framework will ensure that children are given the opportunity to have their say and help inform the decisions made by the council which will affect them in years to come. Their priorities must be our priorities as we shape Cornwall’s future.”
Council Leader Linda Taylor said “We are shaping the Council’s new business plan based on what residents and these amazing young people, representing their peers have told us are their priorities for Cornwall. Although there will be tough choices to make as we set our draft spending proposals in December, we are determined that every penny we spend will be focused on delivering the priorities of those we serve.”
40 young people from all across Cornwall attended the event at New County Hall.
The Annual Conversation began immediately after a meeting of the full Council.
The session saw a new Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy endorsed by the Council.
The strategy focusses on six priorities to address the health inequalities faced across Cornwall.
These strategies are:
• Give every child the best start in life.
• Enable all children, young people and adults to maximise their capabilities and have control of their lives.
• Create fair employment and good work for all.
• Ensure a healthy standard of living for all.
• Create and develop healthy and sustainable places and communities.
• Strengthen the role and impact of ill-health prevention.
Also on the agenda were the establishment of a joint health and wellbeing board for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, an update from the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry joint committee, and a report from the Harbours Board.
Two motions from councillors, one calling for an ecological emergency to be declared in Cornwall, and the other calling for an end to male violence against women and girls, were unanimously supported by councillors.
Story published on November 30, 2021