Visit to Arun District Council
On Friday 23rd November, the Secretary and Chairperson of our School Council were lucky enough to visit Arun District Council to learn more about how democracy works.
The day began by the Chairman of the Arun District Council, Alan Gammon, telling us a little part of his childhood and a couple of tips for being Chairperson. He related his job to, “shaping the world”. About eight years ago, he initiated the food bank in Littlehampton and alongside that, he also started the idea of the local Friday market that has been going on for longer than ten years. As a leader of a huge team, he mentioned how it is incredibly important to include everyone and “all work together”.
Soon after, Liz Futcher, Group Head of Council Advice and Monitoring Officer, introduced us to how the democratic programme works. She told us that we should represent our town and listen to what everyone has to say. The main point of democracy is to have your voice heard about what you want to change. Children were asked how they got voted to be School Councillor and many pupils explained how they had to give a speech explaining why they thought they deserved to be a class representative. Children were also told that to be a true Councillor, you need to listen to what the public want and their interests. Furthermore, you have to attend meetings, consider opinions and MAKE A DIFFERENCE! “Whenever you have a chance to vote, take it” explained Liz Futcher. Did you know that only 45% of people turn out to vote in the local elections?
Next, the Parks Department Manager, Olly Hanson, quizzed us with a range of 15 questions with multiple choice answers all about the parks, trees, rubbish and open spaces. At the end, we were given a prize but not just any prize – it was a complimentary ticket to adventure golf! Following this, we had a short chat with a Planning Department officer who showed us a range of plans for houses that are currently in the planning process. It has not yet been decided whether they will get permission to build them.
Finally, we had a discussion with the Cleansing Department, where Dan and Alex asked us to write a short pledge to reduce the amount of wasted plastic. It is shocking about how much rubbish is produced, and worryingly, in a recent project it was discovered that about 57% of the rubbish in people’s bins could have been recycled.
All in all, we both had a fantastic time, learning numerous facts about how the council work and everything they do.
By Maisha (Chairperson of the School Council) and Archie (Secretary of the School Council)