Worthing Youth Council voter turn-out reaches all-time high

VOTER turn-out for Worthing Youth Council hit an all-time high last week, with some schools reaching 83 per cent.

Out of the 5,012 potential pupil voters, 3,801 handed in their ballot slip, making a total turn-out of more than 75 per cent.

The youth council is voted for in thirds, with 1/3 of the old councillors stepping down every year, and 16 fresh faces stepping up.

Shirley Robinson-Viney, youth council facilitator, said: “Each of the pupils that stand for election have a manifesto which they put together and put on display for other pupils”

This year, six candidates were re-elected as their term of office was up for renewal, and 10 new candidates were elected.

Shirley added: “We’re an a-political group, because it’s a training ground for them to get an understanding of the political process, and how the system works. We mirror what the borough council does.”

Some youth councillors shadow their adult counterparts on Worthing Borough Council to give the “youth a voice in decisions made for the good of the town”.

Jay Kirkby-Bott, from Durrington High, is one of the newly-elected councillors and is also one of the youngest people on the council at 13.

He said: “My brother and sister are involved in it so I just wanted to see what we could do for Worthing. It feels good being part of it all because I had my friends backing me and voting for me.”

All of the youth councillors are expected to sit on committees to get an insight into the community, and they meet on the first and third Monday of each month, at the Town Hall, to share feedback.

Shirley said: “Some of them sit on committees like The Adur Joint Action Group (JAG) and Worthing Action Group (WAG), and they also attend community panel meetings. With these it’s best if the pupils are from the area – that way they know the issues going on around them.”

All community panels apart from one now have a youth council representative sitting on them.

Liam Mills is the current youth mayor and thinks the new councillors will have a positive impact on Worthing.

He said: “I think they will all do brilliantly. The youth council works really well at the moment and it will be an absolute pleasure to have the new guys on board.”

Currently, the schools and colleges taking part are; Worthing High, Durrington High, Chatsmore High, Davison High, St Andrew’s High, Our Lady of Sion, Worthing College and The Foyer – and even where schools do not have a representative, they are still given the opportunity to vote.