Rotherham Youth Cabinet has taken up the Office of the Children’s Commissioner Takeover Challenge and used the opportunity to explore climate change.
Takeover Challenge was originally launched in 2007 by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner as a fun, imaginative and exciting activity to encourage organisations across England to open their doors to children and young people to take over adult roles.
When it returned for 2022, Rotherham Youth Cabinet (RYC) called a special meeting to question Rotherham Council officers on climate change. They also used the session to explore actions taken by the council and its plans to combat it.
During the two-hour session, questions covered a wide range of topics, including electric vehicles, waste and recycling, nature and energy efficiency at public buildings and council properties.
Rotherham Youth Cabinet member Curtis Yip said: “The Children’s Commissioner Takeover Challenge provides an excellent opportunity for young people to directly hold local climate leaders and actions to account. For years, climate change has become an issue where many people talk at young people, about young people, but very rarely talk with young people, so by involving youth cabinet members in the local decision-making process will politically democratise young constituents across Rotherham.”
“Given that the issue of climate change intersects with many other issues oppressing young people’s lives such as transport, education, health, and wellbeing, we have prepared a diverse range of questions covering the different areas and avenues to climate action for a comprehensive and holistic scrutiny to the council.
“With great work already achieved by young people from the Regional Youth Climate Assembly, Yorkshire & Humber, on a regional and national scale, it is now time to focus on the local level where ripples of change can turn into waves of global action. Climate change isn’t just about saving the planet, but it is primarily about caring for the people that live in our planet, so by working locally will ensure we achieve that.”
Rotherham has been directly impacted by climate change in recent years, with devastating floods in 2007 and 2019. Rotherham Council continues take positive steps to mitigate the impact of climate change.
In October 2019, Rotherham Council declared a Climate Emergency and set out a plan of action to reduce carbon emissions generated by the Council, businesses, other organisations and individuals across our borough.
The following targets have been set to reduce carbon emissions in the borough:
- The Council’s carbon emissions to be at net zero by 2030 (NZ30)
- Rotherham-wide carbon emissions to be at net zero by 2040 (NZ40)
Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said: “The Office of the Children’s Commissioner Takeover Challenge is an excellent way for young people to get to the heart of what matters most to them. It was great to see the Youth Cabinet getting involved and raising important questions on climate change, an issue that has had a devastating impact not just locally but worldwide.”
Rotherham Youth Cabinet is a group of young people aged 11 to 18 from across Rotherham, who work on campaigns and help make decisions which have a positive difference to the lives of young people in Rotherham.
They do this by:
- Undertaking research to find out what the main issues are for young people
- Creating campaigns to help improve services and provision for young people
- Working with decision makers across our Region to ensure campaigns are successful
- Ensuring young people in Rotherham are listened to and have a voice.
The Takeover Challenge meeting was held from at Rotherham Town Hall
on Wednesday 16 March.