Teenage Ambassador Gives Young People a Voice on an International Stage After Speaking at Youth Congress

In In the Press, News, on the 7th, April 2015

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Darlington College health and social care student Chloe Foster, 17, who represented the town at an international youth congress in Mulheim an der Ruhr, Germany

Darlington College health and social care student Chloe Foster travelled with groups of teenagers from across Europe to address a youth parliament at the invitation of the Mayor

The 17-year old was chosen to represent the town in her role as chairperson of The Darlo Care Crew, Darlington’s Children in Care Council, which gives young people a chance to air their views with the people who make decisions about the services and support they receive.

“It was an incredible seven days in Germany,” said Chloe, of Darlington, who got the opportunity to debate issues surrounding work opportunities, climate protection, tolerance and youth voice.

“I met loads of other young people from France, Poland, Finland, Israel, Germany and the UK and it was amazing how similar the issues were that we were all concerned about.

“We took part in workshops everyday, interviewed the Mayor and presented our findings and resolution proposals to her. These included introducing cheaper transport to help people get to work, enforcing more racial and religious tolerance in schools and introducing a tax on plastic bottles redeemable when you return the empty bottle to the shop, which the Mayor said she would put to her council members later this year.”

Chloe will also be putting the recommendations of the youth congress to councillors in Darlington and the town’s Mayor Gerald Lee.

“In Europe they are very good at listening to young people and I’d like to see more of that happen over here,” said Chloe.

“We are the next generation and the decisions that MPs and councillors make today are ones that we will have to live with when we are older so it is really important that we have our say.”

Chloe also recently collected a VIBE award for The Darlo Care Crew, at a glittering award ceremony organised by Darlington Borough Council, to honour young people who have achieved against the odds and those who have worked to change their lives and the lives of those around them.

“It was fabulous for The Darlo Care Crew to be recognised with an award,” said Chloe.

“There are still a lot of people who aren’t aware of the organisation and some who sometimes judge young people who find themselves living in care quite harshly.

“It’s great that we are giving the Darlington’s Children in Care Council a voice in the community and that it has been honoured in this way.”

Darlington College programme leader for BTEC level 3 extended diploma in Heath and Social care Lesley Harriman added: “Chloe always gives 100 per cent to everything she does and really helps to motivate others.

“We have recently been learning about advocacy, about people having a voice and being heard and this was an excellent opportunity for Chloe to put forward the views of young people she was representing to a global audience.”

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