Hot-seat event gives Beccles pupils the chance to question councillors

Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole talking to pupils at the hot-seat event. Picture: Amy Smith

Beccles mayor Graham Catchpole talking to pupils at the hot-seat event. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant

Beccles pupils got the chance to put their questions to town, district and county councillors as well as the local MP at a special hot-seat event.

Pupils at the hot-seat event at Sir John Leman High School. Picture: Amy Smith

Pupils at the hot-seat event at Sir John Leman High School. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant

Organised by Beccles Town Council's youth champions, the event aimed to educate pupils aged Year 4 and above on the different tiers of government and give them the chance to meet their local representatives.

Pupils from Sir John Leman High School, where the event was held, were joined by youngsters from St Benet's Primary School and Beccles Primary Academy. They got the chance to question Beccles mayor and town councillor Graham Catchpole, Waveney District Councillor Graham Elliott, Suffolk County Councillors Mark Bee and Chris Punt and Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Phoebe Lawrence and Layla Vaughan, who attend St Benet's Primary, prepared a long list of questions to ask, with subjects including the Minor Injuries Unit at Beccles Hospital, The Venue sports centre and the need for a cinema in Beccles.

They said: 'It has been very interesting and we've learnt a lot of things about local government which we didn't know before.

Waveney District Councillor Graham Elliott talking to pupils at the hot-seat event. Picture: Amy Smi

Waveney District Councillor Graham Elliott talking to pupils at the hot-seat event. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant


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'We got to ask them some questions about themselves and the town.

'We think young people need to be heard more and need to have a say.'

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Other topics included questions about the role of an MP/councillor, the areas they covered, who they work with and whether they have ever been invited to Buckingham Palace.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, who organised the event along with fellow town council youth champion Sam Kenward, said: 'One of our commitments as youth champions was to facilitate young people understanding what democracy is and how they can get involved with it at all levels. Part of that is knowing who represents them at the different tiers of government.

Suffolk County Councillor Mark Bee and Waveney MP Peter Aldous talking to pupils at the hot-seat eve

Suffolk County Councillor Mark Bee and Waveney MP Peter Aldous talking to pupils at the hot-seat event. Picture: Amy Smith - Credit: Archant

'We have invited pupils into the council chamber before but this is the first hot-seat event we have done.

'It's a long-term vision but we hope in the future it will give them a voice to engage in politics and engage with their communities to make them better places.'

The event also included a talk on the Beccles Neighbourhood Plan.

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