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Crawley pupil joins other youths in taking over West Sussex County Council for the day

Youth Cabinet members joined senior councillors on Friday 23 November to take a peek behind the scenes of West Sussex County Council to see how it works and to also join in.

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Josh, Harley and Louise Goldsmith

Youth Cabinet members range in ages from 11-18 and are elected by their peers to represent all areas of West Sussex (likely to be where they live) and meet up once or twice a month.

Eight young members took the chance to shadow senior cabinet members, county council staff and an MP as part of the national Takeover Challenge day, which saw hundreds of young people step into the shoes of a wide range of adult jobs.

The day before, Tom Van Den Berg, 16, one of the two Youth Cabinet members for Bognor Regis and Felpham, and Heather Smith, 13, (Southbourne), met up with Jeremy Hunt, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, and Pieter Montyn, Member for The Witterings. They joined a Performance and Finance Select Committee meeting and listened to some of the issues that were raised, including a budget update and key decisions taken in the Forward Plan.

Tom said:

“I was really thankful to have the opportunity to sit around the table. I have a passion for politics and hope for it to become more than just a hobby.”

George Bowron, 15, (Crawley) and Will Nyss, 15, (Lancing) spent the day with Paul Marshall, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, finding out about his role.

Mr Marshall said:

“It was a pleasure to have George and Will join me for the day and together we learned about the crucial roles social workers carry out for young people and their families in West Sussex. It’s brilliant to see young people interested and engaging in politics in this way.”

Harley Collins, 14, (Chichester and West Arun), spent the morning with Deborah Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Environment, at Westhampnett Solar Farm and the Drayton depot with West Sussex Highways staff.

Harley said:

“Learning about how West Sussex County Council’s highways department manages its tasks with its ground teams was fascinating. I also learnt renewable energy is the future and learning about solar panels was amazing!”

Harley then spent the rest of the day with the communications team drafting an article for Connections, the local residents’ magazine and also learnt about data handling from the Insight team.

Josh Patterson, 14, the other MYC for Bognor and Felpham, was with the communications team for the day. He learnt how to use software to take over the various West Sussex Your Space social media platforms for young people, and posted pictures of what was going on during the day. He also learnt how to write a press release.

Josh said:

“I was really grateful to have the opportunity to come and see how communications work and to write my own press release. It was really fun.”

Jeremy Hunt, Tom Van Den Berg and Pieter Montyn

Harley and Josh ended their day by meeting Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council and asked her many questions about her job.

Louise Goldsmith said:

“I was delighted to have Josh and Harley spend part of the day with me and my team for an ‘ask the leader’ session. We spoke about various topics from school funding to youth consultations and a bit about Brexit and I was really impressed with both of them.”

Spencer Hildrew, 15, (Southbourne) and Dylan Collier, 16, (Chichester) also spent the day shadowing Gillian Keegan, Member of Parliament for Chichester, in London.

Mrs Keegan said:

“It was a great pleasure to welcome Spencer and Dylan from the West Sussex Youth Cabinet to the House of Commons. We are in the midst of the Brexit negotiations and it is an interesting time to be in politics and I’m hoping Spencer and Dylan enjoyed their day.

“We have had many young people from across the Chichester District join us for work experience and shadowing days and we always look forward to welcoming them.”

Find out more about the West Sussex Youth Cabinet: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/education-children-and-families/your-space/participate/youth-cabinet/

Education

Crawley students take home win at regional robotics competition

This week saw four Year 8 students from Thomas Bennett Community College attend the STEM Club Robotics Regional Competition organised by Tomorrow’s Engineers and in association with the RAF.

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It was an exciting day for all four students and the day was made up of several parts.  The students were tasked at the start of the day with the building and programming of a robot to carry out a number of specified tasks based around the idea of humanitarian aid. 

They also researched and made a presentation on current and future use of technology, for this they chose to do prosthetic limbs.  The final part of the competition was a teamwork challenge, for which they had to solve a simple engineering problem using Lego.

The day ended marvellously with the team winning the prize for the best research presentation.  They also qualified for the national competition to be held at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham.

Stuart Smith, Head Teacher at Thomas Bennett Community College said:

“We are incredibly proud of the team who did an exceptional job on the day.  We’re very much looking forward to the team competing at the Big Bang Fair and we’re hopeful for another win!”

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