TOWN councillors have agreed an initial budget of £2,000 for a new youth council to be set up at The Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis.
The idea of a youth council run by the school was originally put forward by Councillor Cheryl Reynolds at a Tourism, Community & Publicity Committee before the summer break.
Councillors supported the idea of a youth council but did not recommend a budget, instead suggesting that the organisation should be set up first and members could then come to council with their ideas and a proposed budget.
Ahead of this week’s full council meeting, Councillor Reynolds contacted all her fellow town councillors giving them more information about youth councils and why she thought it was important to set a budget before it was set up.
She also invited Lucy Armstrong, a member of Dorchester Youth Council, to speak at the meeting, giving an insight into the kind of things youth councils can do and how they function.
Speaking at this week’s meeting, Councillor Stan Williams raised concerns with Councillor Reynolds’ suggestion that they should set a budget.
He said: “Yes, we are all in favour of things like this but we need to know they have a proper working committee and they know what they’re doing, and that should be a fundraising committee.
“It concerns me that everything now falls back on the council to pay. There’s lots of things for us to do and we really need to be saving our money.”
Councillor Jeff Scowen argued: “It’s hard enough to get young people involved in politics. If we asked them to fund this themselves it will never happen.
“I’m strongly in favour of this and hope the council puts forward a budget.”
The Mayor, Councillor Michaela Ellis, added: “We need to encourage the youth to take part in council decisions. It’s them that will hopefully join this council one day.
“I would like to see them bring things to us that perhaps we haven’t though of.”
Councillor Owen Lovell said they were putting the “cart before the horse” and the youth council should be established before requesting a budget.
Councillor Richard Doney said the council was getting into a “chicken and egg” situation and argued that young people needed some encouragement from the council to move forward.
Following suggestions of £1,500 and £5,000, it was eventually agreed to offer an initial budget of £2,000.