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Youth Forum shaping up for the year ahead

5 Sep 2018
Forty young people aged between 13 and 18 years old are getting ready to help shape the future for Belfast as members of the city’s Youth Forum.

A newly appointed Belfast Youth Forum gets down to business this week advising politicians and organising campaigns for social justice and children’s rights as well as organising events to promote the voices of young people in our city.

The ‘Young Advocates’ might not be elected but they have undergone an intensive selection procedure to ensure they understand the commitment they have undertaken.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: “Our Youth Forum do incredible work for Belfast; providing a strong voice for young people, challenging decision makers and taking action on important rights based issues like poverty and mental health.

“They are a shining example of how powerful, meaningful participation with young people can be, and of the importance of citizens asserting their rights. I wish the new young people all the best for their term ahead and look forward to working with them on their future campaigns.’

While the Youth Forum has many new members, a few have served previously and chosen to return because they enjoy it so much. Their first official meeting takes place on Monday, 10 September.

Among those are 17-year-old Niamh Mallaghan, who said: “I’ve been a member of the Belfast Youth Forum for four years. I am coming back for another term because I have had such an incredible time and I have gained so many great experiences and friends that I would not have found anywhere else.

“I know that in the new Forum there will be many more experiences and lessons from which I can learn and grow to become the best young person I can. It’s hard work but fun, it’s given me an insight into how local government works and a tremendous sense of achievement knowing that we have helped make a difference,” she added.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey snaps a ‘selfie’ with some of the newest members of Belfast’s Youth Forum. The Youth Forum provides a voice for young people between 13 and 18 years old. Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey is pictured alongside the newest members of the Belfast Youth Forum on the red staircase in City Hall.