Council says Let’s Talk’ to local pupils

Mark Carruthers pictured with Drew McCrelles and Lavinia Eakin, Ballymoney High School, and Ciara McMorris, North Coast Integrated College, and Councillors William McCandless, Stephanie Quigley, Deputy Mayor James McCorkell, Ian Stevenson, Dermot Nicholl and Joy Wisener, Good Relations Officer.
Mark Carruthers pictured with Drew McCrelles and Lavinia Eakin, Ballymoney High School, and Ciara McMorris, North Coast Integrated College, and Councillors William McCandless, Stephanie Quigley, Deputy Mayor James McCorkell, Ian Stevenson, Dermot Nicholl and Joy Wisener, Good Relations Officer.

Councillors and young people have come together for the annual ‘Let’s Talk’ event organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

It took place on Friday October 14 in the Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre. The engaging event, facilitated by BBC’s Mark Carruthers and Peter Osborne from Rubicon, is held every year as part of the Council’s Good Relations Programme. It provides pupils from local secondary schools with an opportunity to become more aware of their local elected representatives and question them on issues that are important to them.

Pictured at the launch of the DVD Hide or Seek?: Keeva Smith, Loreto College, Hannah Mullan and Jason Irwin, St. Patricks College, with Lavinia Eakin, Ballymoney High School, and Joy Wisener, Good Relations Officer, Sinead McNicholl, Loreto College staff, Councillor David Harding, Majella McCartney, St. Patricks College staff, Councillor Barney Fitzpatrick, and Bronagh Cooke, Ballymoney High School staff.

Pictured at the launch of the DVD Hide or Seek?: Keeva Smith, Loreto College, Hannah Mullan and Jason Irwin, St. Patricks College, with Lavinia Eakin, Ballymoney High School, and Joy Wisener, Good Relations Officer, Sinead McNicholl, Loreto College staff, Councillor David Harding, Majella McCartney, St. Patricks College staff, Councillor Barney Fitzpatrick, and Bronagh Cooke, Ballymoney High School staff.

Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor, Alderman Maura Hickey, said: “‘Let’s Talk’ offers an interactive space for politicians and young people to come together in a way that encourages debate. Young participants can put their Councillors on the spot, while Councillors benefit from meeting the voters of the future and by hearing their views and concerns.”

The event was well received by those who took part. Matthew McLaughlin, a pupil at North Coast Integrated College, said: “It was an incredibly enlightening and thought provoking day, and an informal and unexpectedly enjoyable debate.”

Mark Carruthers, who has been facilitating the event since it started, said: “Year after year it’s great to see young people engaging with their public representatives so enthusiastically. Politicians the world over are well-practised at dodging awkward questions from journalists – but it’s impossible to avoid answering questions from young people who are, of course, the voters of tomorrow. It’s always a very positive engagement and I think everyone leaves with new perspectives and opinions.” This year, Council also chose the Let’s Talk event to launch a new DVD resource for schools, which has been created and funded by the Good Relations Programme. The DVD, entitled “HIDE or Seek?” complements a printed resource which was provided to schools last year. For more on this story, log onto www.colerainetimes.co.uk

Councillor Stephanie Quigley in conversation with local pupils during the Lets Talk event.

Councillor Stephanie Quigley in conversation with local pupils during the Lets Talk event.