Pupils to gain representation

ELLON Community Council is set to welcome some new, young voices, after councillors agreed to amend the constitution to allow school pupils to participate.

Last Monday’s session was attended by Academy pupils Zoe Dunnet and Greg Bartlet, who had volunteered to serve as the first pupil representatives on the body, albeit in an observational capacity. Letters had originally been sent out to community councils in the area, with Ellon being one of those to respond positively to proposals for youth representation. The amendments to the constitution are set to be ratified in June at the body’s AGM, which will allow the school representatives to be co-opted as members.

It is hoped that by adding a younger perspective to the council’s debates, ECC will be able to more effectively represent the people of the town. It is understood that many of the area’s rural community councils are putting similar plans in place.

Modern Studies teacher Donald Morrison, who helped arrange the pupils’ presence, told the Times that the move was a tentative step in the right direction, adding that there were plans to make the positions electable at a later date.

“Local authorities have a statutory duty to promote democracy in their area,” he told the Times. “For the past few years, we have run school elections in tandem with elections at a national level, to try and recreate authentic and accurate participation as far as possible.

“Our pupils are used to holding elections in Ellon - and this is a fantastic way to get kids involved in the local community, at the most local level. I strongly believe in young people taking part in the democratic process.”

Community Council chairwoman Moira Muir told the Times that she was very happy to have the youngsters on board.

“I think the pupils will bring a lot to the council - last night it was refreshing to hear the youngsters’ input on the future of the town centre, for example. They are the residents of the future, and they’ll be able to bring new views to the table. It will be very interesting to hear what they’ve got to say.”