Agenda item

Annual review of the work undertaken by Epping Forest Youth Council

To receive a presentation on the annual progress of the work undertaken by the Community, Culture and Wellbeing Team with the Epping Forest Youth Council (see report attached).


The presentation was introduced by Epping Forest Youth Councillors Sonny Bazzoni, Martin Prinsloo, Daniel Turner, Finlay Wallbanks. They were joined by other Youth Councillors Frank Cullis, Archie Flynn and Sydnae Smith along with the Community, Culture and Wellbeing Team – G Wallis (Service Manager), D Gilson-Butler (Young Person’s Officer) and K Lucas (Young Person’s Assistant). Their highlights included:


·      Youth Council elections in March 2022 that had been competitively contended;

·      #yoursay survey in June 2020 evidenced the need for a mental health project;

·      MiLife C 19 project was updated to respond to Covid 19’s impact on young people and now generated an income for the council by reaching a wider audience;

·      Worked with Red Balloon Foundation to create and deliver 10 lesson plans on mental health and wellbeing in schools;

·      Contributed to 17 surveys for local, regional and national consultations;

·      Actively promoted their achievements in local council newsletters, local press, their schools and on social media;

·      Interacted with other Youth Council and the British Youth Council;

·      8 Youth Councillors received achievement awards from the Council Chairman, Cllr H Kane, at this year’s Civic Awards in March;

·      6 Youth Councillors received the Jack Petchey Achievement Award for their outstanding work;

·      Hosted the Annual Youth Conference at the Civic Offices in November that focussed on climate action;

·      Youth Activities Map on the Council’s website was fully interactive and growing with 68 listings to date; and

·      A thank you for the Council’s continued support of the Youth Council’s project work.


Members asked the following questions after the presentation.


What was the biggest impact the Youth Council had had on you? The youth councillors replied that they had made lots of friends with like-minded people. The Youth Council was helpful and accepting, it had grown their interest in politics and had given them the opportunity to help make a difference.


It was good that youth councillors used social media as they bridged a gap between young people and older generations, but did they use Tik Tok? Promoting the youth council’s work on social media was a good way to reach other young people, so Tik Tok could also be used.


If you could use technology to change one thing in the District, what would that be? The Youth Council was involved with the Ripples Project in relation to the ripple effect of crime on the community and raising awareness. In February during half term, they had taken part in a consultation with Essex Police Press officers and held an interesting discussion on social media on how it could influence young people’s lives.


Were the Youth Council involved in knife crime awareness? The Youth Council had worked heavily with the Essex Police Media Team and on the Ripples Project. They would be doing some casework projects alongside the police using actual incidents to spread the word in a young person friendly way. The Youth Council also had representation on the Independent Advisory Group. Youth councillors promoted the County Council knife bin initiative in schools to design a poster to raise awareness on knife crime, as this reached out and highlighted the dangers to young people.


How were they adjusting to coming out of Covid? The Youth Council had provided a lot of support and the MiLife C 19 project had helped young people with mental health issues. A survey had shown that underage vaping statistics had grown since the last survey, so they were hoping to address this concern.


Litter was a major problem in the District, how were youth councillors helping on this? They explained they would be continuing their environmental work on 5 April to help clean up the River Stort when they would be joined by the Emergency Planning team, Thames Water, The River and Canal Trust and Canalability. Providing bins for litter and recycling was crucial to helping to reduce litter and youth councillors could also help on litter picking.


The Youth Council seemed to be targeted more at boys than girls. Young Person’s Officer, D Gilson-Butler, replied that 13 out of 29 youth councillors were girls but this was unusual as in her past 20 years of supporting Youth Councils, there has been a balanced representation. 


How were people able to nominate other organisations that worked with young people on the Youth Council’s interactive map? The Young Person’s Officer advised that anyone could join it by filling out the application online on the Council’s website and would provide more details after the meeting for members.


The Leader, Councillor C Whitbread, and Portfolio Holders, Councillors D Sunger and A Patel, offered to meet up with the Youth Council to support their work further. The work by the Young Person’s officers was excellent, as they were learning lifelong skills.


The Chairman, Councillor M Sartin, thanked the youth councillors for sharing their achievements over the last two years and answering the many questions members had raised. She remarked that each new cohort of youth councillors had something new to bring to the Youth Council and thanked the officers as well.




(1)          That the Committee received an annual progress report on the work undertaken by the Community, Culture and Wellbeing Team with the Epping Forest Youth Council; and


(2)          That details of how other organisations could be added to the Youth Council’s interactive map would be provided after the meeting.


(Post meeting update: The Youth projects interactive map was an excellent interactive resource. It could be searched by address, place or by category. New youth projects can be added to the map, simply by completing the short on line form on the Youth projects page at the link below: )

Supporting documents: