Year 8 girls from schools in Rochdale delivered their manifesto for the first time to a captivated council audience.
National charity RECLAIM are working with year 8 Girls in Rochdale on the first ever LEAD (Leadership, Enterprise, Activism, community Development) programme for the borough. The girls, from four different schools in Rochdale, covered the four elements of the programme at their conference last week. The week culminated in the release of the first ever Rochdale Girls Manifesto put together by the group.
On 26 October 2017 saw the girls release their manifesto and they headed out into the streets to talk with locals about it. In the afternoon they presented their manifesto to elected members and senior officers in the council. Their presentation and discussion session gave their audience an insight into how their manifesto was devised, the current priorities for young people and ideas of how they plan to work over the coming year to support its delivery.
The four key points of the manifesto are;
• Rochdale girls demand dignity and power – hear our voice
• Make fun free for working class people
• Create and educate, don’t discriminate
• Break the barriers, nor our community.
After they launched their manifesto the girls took questions from council staff and councillors on what was a priority for them and ways in which the council can support them. A workshop session followed with the girls telling personal accounts that led to the manifesto points and working with officers on ways to deliver on their vision.
Councillor Kieran Heakin, deputy cabinet member for children’s services attended the launch and said: “It was fascinating to listen to the girls. They are part of a really engaging group and it is going to give them vital skills and confidence that will set them up for the future, they should be really proud of the momentum they are creating.”
Gail Hopper, director of children’s services at Rochdale council, was very impressed with the girls and said: “The confidence and passion demonstrated by the girls was incredible to see. Their manifesto is something they should be really proud of and we are looking forward to working with them to achieve the changes they want to see. Staff in children’s services are already discussing how their teams can respond to some of the issues raised.”
RECLAIM is a youth leadership and social change organisation. They are a small but bold charity, using their experience and platform to support and amplify the voices of working class young people.
Rod Kippen, from RECLAIM, was delighted with the launch to the council and said: “The girls did a great job and the support and interest from the council has been tremendous. I would like to thank the people, volunteers, services and businesses of Rochdale for their fantastic support for the group and would like to develop this further in supporting the Girls manifesto over the coming year.