Youngsters run council for the day

Free Press Series: Children from various schools across the county won a competition to run the MonmouthshiThemselevesre council for the day. 
AT COUNTY HALL The winning pupils (5337749) Children from various schools across the county won a competition to run the MonmouthshiThemselevesre council for the day. AT COUNTY HALL The winning pupils (5337749)

ADULTS sometimes consider children incapable of doing things they’re not strictly old enough for – but in yesterday Monmouthshire they were able to run their own county council.

Winners of the Run MCC competition, the first of its kind in Britain, filled Monmouthshire council’s chief executive Paul Matthews’ shoes for a day and worked alongside councillors, cabinet members and chief officers at its Usk base.

Angharad Clarke, who is already involved in politics as part of the National Youth Assembly for Wale and as chairman of the Monmouthshire Youth Council, said: “I quite enjoy politics at the moment – but I haven’t decided about whether I want to be the chief executive yet.”

But the King Henry VIII School pupil, 15, said although she is interested in politics, she has yet to pick a political party to align herself to.

The only member of the panel who said agreed with a political party was Ruth Chohan, 15, who said she was a Conservative Party supporter.

The competition’s overall winner, Sean Cupis, 11, attends The Dell School in Chepstow, and will return to County Hall to spend another day with Mr Matthews.

He said on his motivation in applying to the competition: “I wanted to speak about education for people that do not have enough, and healthcare for old people.”

Entries were whittled down by a panel made up of Monmouth MP David Davies, Monmouthshire council’s leader Cllr Peter Fox, Monmouthshire-based bestselling author Lucy Christopher and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant and Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe.

James Taylor, 15, a pupil at Caldicot Comprehensive School, said: “There should be more education of political parties. I’m 16 and I have not really had any education about them.”

Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil Anna Thomas, 13, said she wanted to see more play areas for children.

The event was managed by the Monmouthshire Youth Service, its manager Tracey Thomas said: “It’s been amazing. We are looking to do it again. It will just grow now every year, it is their council.”

More than 100 children applied to take part in the event through their school or through the council’s social media accounts.

The other winners were Bethany Woollard, 9, who attends Deri View Primary in Abergavenny and Usk Primary School pupil Amelia Worsley, 8.

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