Young people took over the City of Wolverhampton Council for the day – and became a central part of the decision-making process.
This year's Takeover Challenge Day – a national event led by the Children's Commissioner for England – was held on 23 November, with the council inviting young people from Wolverhampton's Youth Council, Children in Care Council and Care Leaver Independent Collective to take part.
The focus of this year’s event was on enabling young people to be part of the planning and decision making process, and so they got involved in three projects during the day, working closely with council officers and sharing their opinions.
They began by taking part in the ongoing consultation around the Westside Link Project. The majority of people who have responded to the consultation so far are adults and older people, and last week’s workshop enabled the council’s regeneration team to get the views of the city's young people on the proposals.
Next, the group joined members of the council's Community Safety Team to talk about knife crime. Tackling knife crime was voted the number one issue in the recent Make Your Mark ballot, with young people endorsing the motion that 'Too many young people's lives are lost to knife crime; the Government need to do more to help end the knife crime epidemic'.
The meeting, with the Community Safety Team and partner organisations, discussed the extent of the issue in the city and what more can be done to tackle the problem locally.
Finally, the young people joined leaders from Children's Services to take part in discussions about how the council could ensure it delivers more consistent, effective and efficient services which improve outcomes for children and young people.
At each session, the young people also worked alongside members of the council’s Strategic Executive Board, including Managing Director Tim Johnson.
Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "We have taken part in Takeover Challenge Day for many years and this was a great opportunity for the young people to share their views, get involved in making decisions about things that affect them and gain a valuable insight into the world of work.
“At the same time, we have benefited from a fresh perspective on our services and have been able to work with our city’s young people to help find solutions to some of the challenges we are facing."
The Takeover Challenge was originally launched in 2007 by the Children’s Commissioner’s Office as a fun, imaginative and exciting activity to encourage organisations across England to open their doors to children and young people to take over adult roles.