Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Future is looking bright

On Friday night I went to an event in the Council House celebrating the completion of the Councillor Shadowing Programme. The programme involved 12 young people aged between 14-19, who shadowed elected councillors from the different parties here in Birmingham. The aim was to involve young people in local democracy, and provide them with the opportunity to experience leadership within their local communities.

All the participants gained credits towards the Award Scheme Accreditation Network, and one of the recipients was Neelam Rose, who shadowed me for 25 hours.

Neelam is an intelligent dynamic young woman. I was really pleased when she said at the end of her time with me that she would now consider standing for councillor. We need more young women like her in politics.

The evening itself was really moving and inspiring. The young people presented speeches, poetry and dance to express their experiences. Their confidence and insights were impressive. Special credit is due to Nick Anderson, who organised the scheme. Over 100 have now been through it.

I gave a speech in which I emphasised that I saw one of my roles as being to try and open doors to a younger generation, but only they can walk through them. Looking at the talent on display, I am confident many will do so.

The future for Birmingham looks bright...