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‘Administrative error’ blamed for West Sussex Youth elections fiasco

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It should have been a simple process.

Candidates would submit their manifestos which would be printed out and made available online and then children across the county would be able to take part in the election process.

Except, in the case of West Sussex, the simple process appeared to be flawed.

Each candidate was asked to submit no more than 150 words which they could put forward to encourage a vote for them. But when the manifestos went up there was one candidate who was given over 200 words.

Not only that but the layout of their manifesto was significantly different to the others.

Was this a case of favouritism? According to West Sussex County Council it wasn’t but the evidence was enough for them to call a halt to the process.

Now it appears that the council is rushing to rectify the situation by reprinting and republishing the manifestos so that ALL the candidates get exactly the same space, words and layout. But has the damage already been done?

A West Sussex County Council spokesperson said:

“Unfortunately an administrative error meant the candidate signup forms were issued stating an incorrect word limit for manifestos.

As a result we have paused the current Youth Cabinet and UK Youth Parliament election process while we resolve this issue and issue new candidate signup forms.”

West Sussex Council say that new manifestos should be reprinted and republished in due course so that the process can be restarted soon but no date was given.

Health & Wellbeing

Stay healthy and well with Wellbeing Month at Crawley Library

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Next week marks the start of Wellbeing Month across all 36 West Sussex libraries.

Throughout March, libraries will be celebrating all the ways that books, reading and local libraries can help people stay healthy and well.

Special events taking place include:

  • Wellbeing MOT’s – offering advice, help and support on healthy diet, weight loss, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol, and more.
  • West Sussex MIND – will be advising residents about their new campaign ‘Moving Minds’ and providing information about the mental health services they offer.
  • Apetito drop-in and free taster – come and sample some of the delicious foods on offer from West Sussex County Council’s Meals on Wheels provider Apetito, who provide hot meals to elderly and vulnerable people across the county (Southwick library only).

There will also be NHS health checks, reminiscence taster sessions, story walks for children, games for families. Plus regular events including Knit and Natter, Relax with Colouring and ‘Melody for the Mind’, a singing group for people with dementia and their carers.

‘Melody for the Mind’ sessions are currently run at Broadfield, East Grinstead and Southwick Libraries, with a brand-new session starting at Chichester on Thursday 5 March.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said:

“Libraries always have communities at the heart of everything they do, and this month is no exception.

“Wellbeing, both physical and emotional, is so important and the programme that has been created by the libraries team for Wellbeing Month has a variety of great activities, events and reading that will hopefully make our residents feel happier and healthier in mind and body.”

All libraries will have displays of books chosen by library staff to lift the readers mood and help them feel better. The genres range from uplifting poetry to non-fiction titles with practical advice for difficult times.

To find out more on everything happening during Wellbeing Month at your local library and throughout the rest of the year, visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries

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