NALC’s young councillors network meeting sparks discussion on local governance

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The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) National Network: Young councillors met on 19 March 2024 to discuss the challenges of being a young councillor, annual parish meetings, and councillor allowances.

The network featured a presentation from NALC’s Star Council Awards 2023 Young Councillor of the Year winner, Cllr Cameron Palin of East Cowes Town Council in the Isle of Wight. He shared his journey into politics and his experiences as a young councillor. Reflecting on his engagement with politics from the age of 14, Cllr Palin recounted his advocacy efforts aimed at addressing pressing community concerns. His political activism resulted in his election to the council at 18. He stressed the significance of local action in effecting tangible change.

Cllr Palin addressed the hurdles younger councillors face, particularly the struggle to be taken seriously in a field dominated by older colleagues. He highlighted the importance of perseverance and proactive engagement, advocating for a more inclusive approach to local governance that values the voices and contributions of younger representatives.

The network discussed whether annual council meetings are a good opportunity for councils to engage with the public and young people. One councillor shared insights from their council’s experience, noting that their annual meetings attract various organisations. They emphasised the value of networking and the importance of commemorating the council’s accomplishments from the past year.

The network addressed councillor allowances, with participants exploring the potential impact of financial incentives on enhancing participation, particularly among younger demographics. NALC proposed a comprehensive survey to gauge opinions and gather insights on the issue.

The network will next meet on 4 June 2024.

Learn more about the network and how to join

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