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Gracie Jones inaugurated as Neath Port Talbot Council’s new Youth Mayor

Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Chief Executive Karen Jones has inaugurated Gracie Jones as the council’s new Youth Mayor at a ceremony held in the Civic Centre, Port Talbot, on St David’s Day, 2024.

Gracie, a pupil at St Joseph’s Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre, Port Talbot, and a member of Neath Port Talbot’s Youth Council, takes over from outgoing Youth Mayor Maddie Pritchard.

In her acceptance speech, new Youth Mayor Gracie said: “I want to bring even more engagement and interaction in schools, in youth groups and to young people in general on their opinions of the array of issues the Youth Council works on such as gathering surveys, statistics, and interviews.

“I want to promote all that the Youth Council does. With myself and the Youth Council being the democratic voice of the young people in the local area I want to resolve voiced issues to the best of my ability.

“According to surveys the youth council has carried out among the young people in our area, sexual health is among the main issues the youth want to improve.

“As a young person in Neath Port Talbot I as many others have heard and seen the implications of the lack of education and awareness on the issue of sexual health. Not everyone has someone to talk to, not everyone gets reliable advice.”

At the ceremony, Jake Dorgan of Cefn Saeson Comprehensive School was inaugurated as this year’s Deputy Youth Mayor.

The positions of Youth Mayor and Deputy Youth Mayor are elected annually by Neath Port Talbot’s Youth Council to ensure young people are given a voice and have a say on local issues that matter to them.

Outgoing Youth Mayor, Maddie Pritchard said: “The Youth Council is a brilliant idea which I’m very proud to be part of and the members are incredible young people who want to make a positive difference to our community.

“Congratulations to Gracie. You’ve been an amazing Deputy Youth Mayor over the past year and I know the best is yet to come.”

The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr Chris Williams, said: “It continues to be so important that we hear the views, ideas and voices of all children and young people across the work of the Council.

“Neath Port Talbot strives to be a place where the voices of young people are listened to and are at the forefront of our work.  We already have a strong Youth Council and the addition of Youth Mayor has enhanced and strengthened this process and raised the profile of young people in our communities. “