19 May 2022

GALLERY | Let's Talk event held in Coleraine brings politicians and pupils together

Local school pupils enjoyed opportunity to speak directly with elected representatives about issues that matter to them

LOCAL school pupils have enjoyed an opportunity to speak directly with elected members about the issues which matter to them at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s annual Let’s Talk event.

The initiative, organised by Council’s Good Relation team, was facilitated by broadcaster Mark Carruthers and Peter Osborne from Rubicon.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson, was one of those who participated in the event. Speaking afterwards he said: “This was my first experience of Let’s Talk, and I think it was a valuable experience for both elected members and the young people. Many of them might never have spoken with an elected member before, so it allowed us to highlight our role and listen to what matters to them.

“These school pupils are the voters of the future so it is very important that we engage with them, and ensure they realise that their voice can make a difference. I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did, and I would like to thank all the schools who took part.”

Mark Carruthers, who has been facilitating the event since it began, said: “I look forward to taking part in Let’s Talk every year, as it provides a unique opportunity to observe interaction between school pupils and elected members. There’s no hiding place from the questions in the room, and the relaxed environment means there’s plenty of discussion and opinions exchanged.

“The event provides important lessons for everyone involved, and its success is dependent on our participants so my thanks go to all those who took part, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.”

Patricia Harkin, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Good Relations Manager added: “We are delighted that our Let’s Talk event has established itself as an annual feature of our calendar. This year, following the local government elections back in May, we had a lot of new faces in the room and I hope they found it a useful engagement exercise.

“It’s great to see our elected members, from across the political spectrum, getting together with some of the area’s younger residents and listening to the conversations that emerge.”

One pupil said: “Most Councillors were very good at listening to us and were considerate of all opinions.” Another said “It was a good event and I learned a lot from every individual”.

This project has received financial support from The Executive Office. For further information, contact Good Relations Officer Joy Wisener by telephoning 028 7034 7034.

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