A NEW Saddleworth Youth Council has taken its first steps to giving a voice to local young people.
The Youth Council is the brainchild of Saddleworth Parish Councillors Jamie Curley and Katrina Roman and is in the process of being established and constituted.
Six young people from Saddleworth and Oldham attended the initial meeting last month, along with youth development officer Sue Palfrey and Cllrs Curley and Roman.
Cllr Curley told the group: “We wanted to get you together to hear your ideas and views. Do not have any boundaries about what you want to do.
“The Parish Council will be able to give funding suggestions, advice and guidance and see what we can do to help you – but we want it to be your ideas.”
Cllr Roman added: “We are not making decisions for you but we are here to give advice. We are proud to support you in the process and will help you in any way we can.”
The group will now look at electing a chair and vice-chair, recruiting new members, and holding regular meetings to decision on their priorities and projects.
They will work closely with Oldham Youth Council, which was formed in 2001 and helps to represent young people in decision making processes across the borough.
They will also relay their work back to Saddleworth Parish Council, as its other sub-committees do, to gain advice and get recommendations approved.
Cllr Roman raised a concern that the young people could not attend any meetings involving Cllr Mike Buckley, who was found guilty in 2016 of downloading indecent images of children.
She told the Parish Council: “The Youth Council is very interested in seeing our committee meeting to see how to conduct their own.
“However due to Cllr Buckley being here, we have had to tell them they cannot do so.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking the young people into our Parish Council meeting with him there.
“We have done everything we can to get him off the committees but unfortunately we have no power to make him quit.”
However, Pam Bailey, Clerk to the Council, confirmed they have spoken to safeguarding policy adviser at Oldham Council and been told there is no reason Cllr Buckley cannot be in the same room as children.