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Young Mayors

Democratically elected youth councils of 11-17 year olds across the country.

There are Young Mayors in place around the world. Hundreds of thousands of young people have taken part in elections to put them into office. 

In the UK the Oldham Youth Council reached thousands of young people through award winning driver education workshops and had speed cameras installed on a dangerous road.

The Bristol Youth Council tackled Holiday Hunger, so young people who rely on school breakfast clubs wouldn’t starve over the break.

And in Greenwich, the Youth Council hosted a summit and series of think tanks with young people and decision-makers to explore the issue of knife crime and how to tackle street safety.

Now it’s your turn.

 

Find your local Youth Council

Don’t see your Council? Sign up to hear when nominations open in your area.

 

What is Young Mayors?

The Young Mayors program is the chance to make an impact on your local community. With training, mentoring and money to run local projects and campaigns, Youth Councils won’t just have a voice – but a platform to take action.

We’re kick starting this program across five local councils – backing young people who want to take an active role in their local community.

Elected by their peers, young council members will work together to define priority action areas. Together, the youth council will serve a 12-24 month term working with their council to implement projects and events and influence decisions that impact their community. 

Thousands of people aged 11-18 across the world have taken part to elect young people to these councils. The programs have ensured that council policies and programs better reflect the concerns, needs, and desires of local young people.

The Young Mayors Program is being delivered in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Centre for Cities, and is supported by the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing through the Engage program

We want to shift young people from being passive advisors to active decision makers

Want to know more or stay up to date?

Fill out the contact form to send us a message and/or sign up for more information.

If you’re a Council interested in starting your own youth council, express your interest here.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a young person. How can I get involved?

If you’re based in one of the council areas signed up to the program, we’d love to hear from you! Please head to your council page:

Don’t see your Council on this list? Sign up to hear when nominations open in your area.

I’m a Local Council. How do I sign up?

The Young Mayors program is being piloted in up to 10 Local Councils in NSW, QLD and VIC over 2023 and 2024. We are not currently accepting applications for the pilot, but we would love to hear from any Council interested in the program. Please express your interest here.

Where is the Young Mayors program currently operating?

The program is running in VIC, QLD and NSW.

When will the Young Mayors program reach other states?

We’re working hard to bring the program to WA, NT, SA, ACT and TAS in 2025 and beyond. We would love to hear from any Council, in any state, interested in the program. Please express your interest here.

What type of projects and campaigns will Youth Councils run?

Each Youth Council will decide their priorities based on issues identified by young people in their community. 

The projects run by youth councils around the world have covered a range of issues, including: 

  • Campaigns for mental health, LGBTIQ+ equality, poverty reduction, sustainability, safety and tourism
  • Youth homelessness support projects
  • Lowering the age of travel concessions
  • New inclusive council programs for young people with disabilities
  • Forums that bring young people together with local, state, and federal decision makers
  • New sports competitions, music programs, and art exhibitions

What support will young people get?

Young people running for election will have access to workshops and mentoring to support their campaigns, led by Australia’s leading campaigners, journalists and civic leaders.

Once elected, the Youth Council will do a thorough induction, have access to a constantly updated resource library, and be supported by a staff member based in the Council area.

What safeguarding is in place for young people in the program?

The Young Mayors program works with young people aged 11 to 17 years. We recognise this program puts young people in the public spotlight, and this can create vulnerabilities.

A well-being plan tailored to each community is developed at the beginning of the program, based on a thorough co-design process undertaken with each local government area.

The well-being plan includes, but is not limited to specific actions and support available to keep young people safe, processes to report harm, and clarity on expectations young people can have of each other, partners involved and the general public.

FYA and our partners are required to have Working With Childrens’ Checks and adhere to a comprehensive set of safeguarding policies and legislative requirements.

What inclusion and accessibility support is available?

We are working hard to make every part of the program as accessible to as many people as possible. This includes using wheelchair accessible venues, having the option to provide Auslan Interpreters for events, providing single and gender neutral bathrooms, creating social scripts and maintaining COVID safety. 

We are committed to supporting all access requirements and welcome suggestions for any access needs not covered here. Please email Tahlia Azaria (she/her) at tahlia.azaria@fya.org.au or call FYA on (03) 7046 3837 to book a time to chat.

My Local Council already runs a youth council program. How is this different?

Many Local Councils have programs that give young people the opportunity to share their opinions and ideas to help shape their community. Most often, young people apply to be part of the program, and the views shared are limited to the people around the table.

The Young Mayors program democratically elects young people to the Youth Council. This gives all young people in the community a chance to vote for the people they want to represent them, and requires the elected Youth Council to regularly consult with their constituents to make sure a diversity of views are heard. 

The Young Mayors program centers young people in decision-making, so they are not only sharing their views, but making their priorities happen through running campaigns, projects and events.

Read more: Passing the gavel to young people

What is FYA’s involvement in the program?

FYA is piloting the program over 2023-24, overseeing all elements of the design, set up and delivery, working hand-in-hand with our Local Council partners.

We’re also working in partnership with the Melbourne Centre for Cities (University of Melbourne) to measure the program’s impact.

The electoral commissions in Victoria and Queensland are guiding our elections, and we’re working with a documentary filmmaker to capture what happens when young people have power to make change in their communities.

How is the program funded?

The program is made possible with generous support from the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Victorian-specific funding from the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. 

What happens after the pilot?

The program is currently being piloted until the end of 2024, with the possibility of extension to test new approaches as we learn from the first two years.

Our dream is for the program to scale up across the country and reach 25% of all local government areas in Australia by 2028 (equivalent of 150 councils). 

We’re working on what the business model should look like. We know Local Councils will need backing from funders and external partners to make sure their youth council is properly resourced and supported for many years to come.

I’m interested in supporting the Young Mayors program. How can I help?

We’re always on the look-out for donors who want to support the Young Mayors program. If this is you, please contact our partnerships team at partnerships@fya.org.au 

If you want to propose a collaboration, please get in touch.

Got more questions?

We’re constantly updating our FAQ with new topics as the program rolls out.

If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, check if we’ve answered it in your Local Council page FAQ: Mackay and Horsham.

If you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please get in touch via the contact form or by sending an email to youngmayors@fya.org.au.

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