Ideas into Action is run by Chichester District Council's Youth Engagement team and works with schools pupils in Years 5 and 6. The project is now a finalist in the Children & Young People Now Awards 2017, in the Youth Volunteering and Social Action Award category.

As part of the programme, pupils are asked to form their own 'political' parties and draw up a manifesto and a series of pledges about the things that matter to them most.

After forming their political parties, each group then comes up with ideas for things they would like to see happen in their local community. Ideas have been diverse from organising a trip to the local museum for a group of elderly residents to encouraging more wildlife to their local park and working with the council's green spaces team to have some extra trees planted. Another group worked with their local parish council to have a fun, frog shaped bin installed in the local play area to encourage young children and parents to dispose of their litter properly.

"Ideas into Action is such an important project because it's all about encouraging young people to get involved in local democracy right at the grass roots level," says Councillor Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Chichester District Council. "They are asked to think about the issues that concern them, and the project encourages them to think about the positive role they can play right where they live, and how they can make a difference to those around them.

"I think it's very empowering for children to learn that they can make a difference.  I never fail to be impressed by the wonderful ideas and projects that they come up with and how enthusiastic they are about a wide variety of issues, from the environment to health and wellbeing. The workshops are always full of energy and are great fun to be part of. The scheme involves people from across the community, including other teams here at the council and so it is also a great lesson in team work and how by working together we can improve things."

Ideas into Action started three years ago and during that time the Youth Engagement team has worked with more than 200 children.

Some of the ideas that have come out of the project have had a long lasting impact. A family marathon has now become an annual event, a group of teenagers have now taken on regular litter picking duty in their community while a film club started at one school has now been offered out to the wider area. 

The award winners will be announced at a special ceremony in London on November 22.

Date of Release: 4 September 2017                      

Reference: 3744