23 Apr 2010

STUDENTS from six schools in Derry gathered today at Lumen Christi College to speak out about how they can have a greater voice in their school, wider community and in Government.

More than 50 students, representing their school councils, met to share experiences and explore how they can have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

The student’s efforts are backed by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY), Patricia Lewsley, who is asking Government to involve children in the decisions they make, as part of her ongoing ‘Make it Right’ campaign.

Photo 1- Lumen Christi College.jpg

Speaking at the event, Ms Lewsley said: “Even though children and young people cannot vote, Government must still listen to what they have to say when they are making decisions.

“Children and young people should have a say in all areas of their life from how their school is run to the care they get from doctors, plans made for roads to parks and leisure centres near them. 

“School councils are an important way of improving the life of schools, helping solve problems and enabling pupils to have an effective say.  It is great to see some many representatives from school councils present and I hope that they will continue.

“More than 300 individual children and young people have been taking part in the campaign by writing a letter to local councillors, sharing what they have learned with others, or by sending a petition to their local MLA. 

“I am delighted with the initiative shown by these students and I hope that even more children and young people will act now to make it right!”

The Mayor of Derry, MrPaul Fleming, also discussed with the students how they can have a say in their area.

The schools involved include St Columb’s College, St. Peters High School, St. Mary’s Secondary School, Thornhill College, St. Joseph’s Secondary College, and Lumen Christi College.

The event coincides with NICCY’s 'Make it Right' campaign, which this month asks Government to ensure thatchildren and young people have a say.

Other issues highlighted will include play and leisure, disabilities, children in care, education, health and wellbeing, young people in trouble with the law and a celebration of all the good contributions young people make to society.

If you would like to learn more or find out how to become involved you can email NICCY on uncrc@niccy.org, visit www.niccy.org/childrensrights or call 028 90311616.

To view some more photos of the event please click here.

ENDS

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: For more information please contact Andrew McGall, Communication Officer at NICCY, on 028 9031 1616