Video: FENLAND: Youngsters get to try political speed dating as part of Local Democracy Week

Story by: TOM JACKSON YOUNGSTERS from across Fenland were given just three minutes to ask public sector workers about democracy, in a political speed dating session. The teenagers, from five of Fenland s secondary schools, asked senior councillors, police

Story by: TOM JACKSON

YOUNGSTERS from across Fenland were given just three minutes to ask public sector workers about democracy, in a political speed dating session.

The teenagers, from five of Fenland's secondary schools, asked senior councillors, police and health workers a series of questions during the workshop, as part of Local Democracy Week.

Rachelle Evans, Fenland District Council's youth and community officer, said: "We used it as a way to break down barriers between young people and people in authority."


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Students from Crowmell Community College in Chatteris, Neale-Wade Community College in March, Sir Harry Smith Community College in Whittlesey, Wisbech Grammar School and the Meadowgate School in Wisbech, took part in the session at the new Boathouse in Wisbech on Tuesday.

A total of 14 people answered students' questions, including Fenland District Council's chief executive Tim Pilsbury; Councillor Bernard Keane, the chairman of Fenland District Council; and Fenland District Council Cabinet portfolio holders Kit Owen, Steve Garratt and Peter Murphy.

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March sector police inspector Andy Sullivan, Wisbech Pc Dave Marsh, PCSO Angie Wilson and Nicola Clapperton from Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust, also joined in the speed event.

Miss Evans said: "We wanted to take the young people out of their comfort zone and ask some serious questions. But there were also some light-hearted questions, such as 'what is your favourite pet'."

The session was held as part of Local Democracy Week, a national event which encourages young people to get more involved in politics.

A theatre company visited from Hampshire to run a democracy play and workshop in the morning, before the political speed dating session in the afternoon.

A backchat session was also held, which set tricky dilemmas to encourage decision making.

Miss Evans said: "It was about showing young people that they are a part of every-day democracy and that they have got rights to their own opinion.

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