Youth Council discuss life under lockdown
Posted on: Monday 08 June 2020
Bridgend youth councillors have held a virtual meeting with the mayor of Bridgend County Borough to discuss the impact of the current lockdown on young people.
Designed to give young people in Bridgend County Borough a voice and help them to have their say on local issues, Bridgend Youth Council is a separate organisation to Bridgend County Borough Council.
Set up and run by local young people with support from the local authority, it features a mayor, cabinet members and a number of youth councillors.
During the online meeting, youth councillors were able to talk about a range of issues with Mayor Stuart Baldwin, including matters relating to education, the environment and what society could look like once the lockdown is lifted.
They shared concerns over predicted grades, the effect on their university preparation, and highlighted the importance of access to technology for all ages during the pandemic.
While the lockdown has prevented many young people from participating in their usual activities, it has also presented an opportunity for some to learn and develop new skills.
I’ve been learning a lot of music on the piano and guitar, cadets have been running virtual meetings twice a week, and we’ve been able to get badges and even do our Duke of Edinburgh Awards.Youth councillor Ewan Bodilly
Youth Mayor Megan Lambert added: “Many online learning platforms have been offering free courses during the pandemic, some from the Ivy League, with the ability to achieve certificates for completing them.”
Youth support workers have been encouraging young people to visit websites such as the Prince’s Trust and The Open University to develop their skills during the lockdown.
Megan Stone who is the UK Youth MP for Bridgend said the coronavirus pandemic had shown communities how much people relied on each other, adding: “It’s definitely brought communities together. The national clap for keyworkers has got people to come out and talk to their neighbours, it’s brought people together so much.”
Max Williams, Youth Cabinet Member for Education, raised important points about the environment. “It’s important to realise we can’t go back to normal because normal was the problem,” he said.
“The skies are so much clearer now planes aren’t flying, and there’s talk of London becoming a cycling city like Amsterdam. We have to think of what the new normal is going to be.”
Mayor Baldwin agreed. “Some would argue that what we had prior to lockdown wasn’t normal, and maybe we shouldn’t go back,” he said.
“I don’t think what we had before was normal... I bought a new car in January, and have driven it just three times. It shows that you can do without, so hopefully we’ll move to a more person-centred culture.”
The youth council has been continuing to hold virtual meetings throughout the pandemic, while Bridgend Youth Support is offering a range of online services for young people aged 11 to 25.
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