YOUNG people and policy makers are joining forces in a bid to secure a lasting legacy for North Ayrshire following the Year of Young People (YoYP) 2018.

The idea came to fruition during the YoYP launch in December when the council leader announced plans to develop a joint working group.

And on last Tuesday those plans were officially given the rubber stamp when the council’s Cabinet approved a new crossparty, intergenerational strategic group to oversee and report on the outcomes of the YoYP.

The group will ensure that what matters the most to young people is discussed and that there is a real legacy left from the work that will be taking place. Membership of the group will include six young people, each with a link to one of North Ayrshire’s localities, along with six councillors, representing North Ayrshire’s Labour, SNP, Conservative & Unionist groups and Independent Members.

A young person will be chosen by the group to become chair, with Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Connected Communities, as vice chair.

Once established, the group will meet to agree a programme of work based on the views and priorities of local youngsters.

Monthly meetings will follow where they’ll discuss matters affecting children and young people, consult with them on these issues, take evidence from national organisations and make recommendations on policy and strategy based on their feedback.

They’ll also work closely with the YoYP events and activities group to gather information from the ground.

Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “Young people are at the heart of everything we’re doing locally to recognise and celebrate our outstanding young people during 2018.

“So why not put them at the heart of our policy development too?

“That’s why I wanted to create this YoYP working group, to bring young people to the strategic table where they can influence policy that affects their day to day lives.

“The working group is not about politicians telling young people what should happen. It is about young people being empowered to have their say, influence decisions and make a difference for their peers. That’s why it is so important that the group is chaired by a young person.”