Earlier this year Leeds became Chair of a new working group for children and young people within the EUROCITIES network. Part of the role is to represent European cities at high level events on children’s issues such as the EU Forum on the Rights of the Child which took place online this week.
Representing Leeds and EUROCITIES was the Council Leader Judith Blake and the Chair of Leeds Youth Council, 17 year old Charlotte Williams, represented youth voice. They participated in a high level session alongside the French Secretary of State for Solidarity and Health, Adrien Taquet, Swedish Member of the European Parliament leading on children’s rights, David Lega, and the Deputy Director of UNICEF, Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka.
Charlotte was able to give lots of examples of the way in which Leeds Youth Council works with Leeds City Council to influence policy relating to a range of topics, from mental health to public transport.
Councillor Blake described how the EUROCITIES working group helps cities to share best practice, stating “This is the power of the EUROCITIES model, national borders don’t get in the way of our conversation about the rights of children.”
The working group, led by Leeds and with Rotterdam and Milan as vice-chairs, kicked off its activities with a study into child poverty in cities across Europe. EUROCITIES has launched a survey for members to collect data, evidence, good practices and bottlenecks on city measures to combat child poverty. The findings will be used to influence policy and state the case for more funding to support children living in deprivation.