Local issues @ Children's Parliament

120 children discussed leisure facilities, local parks, fair trade and safe routes


Pupils in the council chamber for the Children’s Parliament at Hammersmith Town Hall
  The winners:

Presentation skills - Old Oak Primary (increasing use of Wormwood Scrubs)

Research – Greenside Primary (safer routes to school)

Environmental action and children’s awards - St Stephen’s Primary (inclusive play)

Politicians’ award - Wormholt Park Primary (improving Wormholt Park)

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Children from ten borough primary schools had their say on issues ranging from nature conservation and the future of local parks to fair trade and the abolition of black slavery when they took over the council chamber for the day.

About 120 children, aged 10-11, took part in the Children’s Parliament on the Environment at Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday, 17 November.
Two elected speakers from each school made presentations on their chosen topics, covering environmental, social and historical issues. This was the sixth Children’s Parliament to be held at the town hall.

Subjects included fair trade in the borough; safe routes to school; leisure facilities in White City; sustainable buildings; nature conservation on Wormwood Scrubs; ways to commemorate the abolition of black slavery; the future of Wormholt Park and the council’s strategy on open spaces.

The children researched their topics with the help of Hammersmith & Fulham Urban Studies Centre, which arranged for pupils to go on fact-finding trips and meet relevant council officers, residents and community groups.

Sue Ingham, director of the Hammersmith & Fulham Urban Studies Centre, said: “Children really value the opportunity to have their say on issues that affect them and to put forward practical solutions and ideas for community projects. They also tell us how important it is that people are listening to their views and taking them seriously.”

During the Children’s Parliament, the pupils gave their presentations in the council chamber, before taking part in a question and answer session with each other. Judging of the competition was conducted by a panel of senior council officers, local experts and sixth form students.

The judges announced awards in three categories: presentation skills, research and environmental action. Two special awards were also made, one by the children themselves and another by a panel of four local politicians. Award winners received special framed certificates.

Children from all the participating schools also received framed certificates as well as two books – A Street Through Time and The Earth from the Air for Children.

Education deputy Cllr David Williams, a member of the politicians’ panel, said: “Young people care deeply about the environment and social issues and have plenty of good ideas for innovative conservation and community projects – including working with a local artist and poet on a video to mark UNESCO’s slavery abolition year and looking at new ways to improve and enjoy the local environment.
Pupils who take part in the event are encouraged to develop their ideas through classroom and community activities next term.”

November 21, 2004