Tom Gudgeon is a man with a mission.
As the new chairman of the North Yorkshire Youth Council he wants to get more young people on board. Many young people he believes feel powerless to change things for the better and he wants them to realise that youth councils are an effective means of getting their voices heard and messages across.
Tom also wants to establish a better relationship between town councils and youth councils and is currently involved with advising the county council and the police on how to engage better with young people
Tom is determined that young people will get involved in the promotion of key messages for North Yorkshire including improved transport and healthy eating.
In particular he wants to extend the Ride Around for a Pound scheme, which ran successfully in Craven last year, across the whole county. Under the scheme, which ran for the entire month of August, participating bus operators across Craven offered a flat fare to under 18s of £1 a day to travel anywhere in Craven.
Tom also hopes to expand a healthy eating campaign through the use of social media. The Fork Off campaign operates through Facebook and YouTube and is aimed at young people going off to college or university or who are wanting to be more independent and cook for themselves. The intention is to create a series of short YouTube clips of young people giving cookery demonstrations of how to make simple but healthy meals.
More than 200 young people currently make up the membership of North Yorkshire’s 16 local youth councils and the push to recruit new members continues. Two members from each local youth council sit on the North Yorkshire Youth Council.
Tom, who will go on to be an apprentice stone mason next academic year, has been an active member of Ripon Youth Council.
Being a youth councillor is a really good way of making positive things happen for young people as well as getting young people involved in their local areas for the good of everybody.
County councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Youth Services said the county’s youth councillors are great ambassadors:
These young people really do make a difference to the communities in which they live. Youth councils are an effective vehicle for bringing about positive change and for developing future leaders. They do great work in North Yorkshire and we should be proud of them.