Participation in Practice: England's youngest district councillor

Friday, June 24, 2011

At 18-years and four-months-old, Stuart Green is believed to be the youngest district councillor in England.

Stuart won his Dereham-Humbletoft ward seat at the Breckland Council elections in May. He decided to stand as a Conservative councillor in Breckland, Norfolk, after previously sitting on the local youth council. "My experience on the youth council gave me the confidence to stand for the full council," he says.

"I already had an understanding of the formal processes and had attended different council meetings."

He stood for election because he wanted to ensure that the council would still provide a good service for residents despite spending cuts. He also wanted to make sure that young people were better represented. "If younger people are on the council and making the decisions, then councillors will actually consider the impact on younger people," says Stuart. "A younger person will be able to remember more clearly when they were a child and they may consider their needs more."

Priority issues in his ward include making improvements to a local park, which currently includes a football pitch that only has a goal at one end. "It's a case of making the park more interesting and safer," says Stuart.

Despite his young age, the reaction of local people has largely been positive. When he went out canvassing before the election, he says that older people commented that it was good to see someone "young and full of energy" standing.

He has recently finished college and plans to fit his role on the council around a job. "I'm not sure what future career aspirations I have at the moment," says Stuart. "I'll just see what comes along."

Whatever happens, he intends to remain a councillor for the next four years, and hopes to stand for re-election in 2015.

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