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Young people from Leicester take over Government

Published on Monday, November 21, 2016

THREE young people from Leicester took over some senior Government positions last week, as part of the Takeover challenge.

Takeover is an annual engagement project which sees organisations across England opening their doors to children and young people to take over adult roles. It puts them in decision-making positions and encourages organisations and businesses to hear their views.

Takeover is organised by the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, whose job is to promote and protect the rights of children. 

On Tuesday 15 November, Morgan Bates, Sagar Haria and Zainab Ismaeel from Leicester’s Young People’s Council travelled to London to take part in the Takeover project.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan took over the role of Minister for Employment from Damian Hinds, while 18-year-old Sagar took over Baroness Anelay’s position as Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN.

Zainab, 18, took over from Chris Wormald as Permanent Secretary for the Department of Health.

Morgan said: “It was a great day. I really enjoyed speaking to Damien Hinds. It was also inspiring meeting an intern who was a care leaver and is now shaping policy for other care leavers.”

Zainab added: “I learned that to work as a civil servant, you need to be flexible and on the ball. You have to be ready and willing to learn all the time.”

Sagar said: “I got a fantastic insight into how Parliament works. It was absolutely worth doing and we’d all definitely do it again.”

This year, more than 45,000 children from all over the country are taking part in Takeover. Organisations and individuals who get involved include major broadcasters, government departments, a West End theatre and MPs.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: ”This was a fantastic opportunity for these young people. They got the chance to see how Government works and how they can influence decision-making, both now and in the future.

“We’re lucky to have an active Young People’s Council here in Leicester, and recently 12,000 young people in the city voted on what they wanted to see debated in the UK Youth Parliament – an impressive turnout of nearly 43 per cent.

“It’s clear that Morgan, Sagar and Zainab learned a lot from the experience, and I’m sure they will enthusiastically share what they’ve learned with our youth council and other young people in Leicester.”

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said: “The Takeover Challenge goes from strength to strength every year, with tens of thousands of children across England now taking part. I am enormously grateful to organisations and individuals who embrace the challenge and throw open their doors to involve young people.

“Children are full of fresh ideas, imagination and energy so they can really provide a fresh perspective that organisations can benefit from. Giving children and young people a chance to do adult roles for the day helps organisations understand the needs of children, who also use the experience to show off their talents and achieve their full potential.”