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Youth Forum outline Learning Caerphilly as their priority issue for 2024

In a cabinet meeting which took place on Wednesday 1st May 2024, Caerphilly County Borough’s Youth Forum (Youth Service) informed Cabinet of the issues raised by young people within the Borough and highlighted their priority issue for the year.

The Youth Forum enables young people aged 11-25 to have a voice on issues that affect them. Each year, young people’s ideas and issues are identified in a borough wide consultation, structured and organised around five themes: Prosperous Caerphilly; Safer Caerphilly; Learning Caerphilly; Healthier Caerphilly; and Greener Caerphilly.

Following the Annual Youth Forum Conference in January 2024, young people within CCBC identified current issues that are important to them and voted on a priority issue for 2024. 2,428 young people participated in the borough wide ballot, with the majority (28%) voting for Learning Caerphilly: Drugs – more awareness around the dangers of drugs (e.g. Vapes laced with dangerous substances and Cannabis) also county lines in and out of the Borough, to be their priority issue.

Following the ballot to identify the overall priority issue, the Youth Forum Project Group further consulted with young people via school councils and the youth service to explore the issue and gain a more informed insight into why this is a matter of concern for young people.

Some of the common themes emerging from the consultation focused largely on vaping, and included:

  • Accessibility and affordability of vapes in corner shops, vape bars or vaping shops.
  • Lack of age identification checks conducted at the point of sale, increasing availability to young people.
  • The appeal of vapes through flavours and colours which target young people.
  • Peer pressure and the normalisation of vaping amongst young people.
  • Vaping behaviours on public/school transport and in the community/in schools.
  • Vape litter resulting in younger children picking them up.

Over the coming months, the Youth Forum Project Group will devise a programme of work that is feasible for young people to carry out throughout 2024 with the aim of addressing the priority issue.

This will involve linking with a number of Local Authority and partner services including: Trading Standards, Healthy Schools, the Local Health Board and Public Health Wales. The group will consider the proposed ban on the sale of disposable vapes, education on the dangers and harmful impact of vaping, and underage purchasing of vapes in small businesses across the borough.

Councillor Carol Andrews, Youth Champion said: “It was great having the Youth Forum in Cabinet this week, and for Members to get a better understanding of what issues are a concern for the young people in our Borough.

“Today’s meeting was the culmination of their hard work over the past months and something that I am very proud to be part of.”

“We will continue to work with the Youth Forum to address the issues outlined by young people, in particular Learning Caerphilly: Drugs which they highlighted as their priority issue.”