Local Democracy Week
Local Democracy Week (LDW) is an annual event whose purpose is to foster a greater knowledge of local democracy and to promote the idea of democratic participation at a local level. Since 2004, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council have hosted a variety of events aimed at students from schools and colleges across the borough to further this purpose. LDW takes place each year during the week which includes 15 October.
This year, activities took place over two weeks around Local Democracy Week. Politics students from Reigate College and the Beacon School came to Reigate Town Hall to learn about different voting systems, and to conduct an election of their own, manning a 'polling station', casting and counting the votes.
This year's elections sought to determine the most popular chocolate bar among the students, and Cadbury's Dairy Milk continued its reign as the chosen favourite under both First Past the Post and Supplementary Vote systems. The students also debated the relative merits of different voting systems and considered what the future of democracy might look like.
Eighty students from four of our local secondary schools also took part in a 'Question Time' debate the following week, where they had the opportunity to question a panel made up of Borough and County Councillors, and other representatives of the local community. Students asked many tricky and interesting questions on topics they chose, including 'Should the Voting Age be lowered to 16', 'Obesity in Young People', 'Homelessness in the Borough' and 'Substance Misuse'.
Many thanks to Nicholas Owen, who hosted the event with great aplomb, to our panellists - Paul Simpson from East Surrey Hospital (Winner of Best Speaker), Luc Stringer from Reigate & Banstead Youth Council, Cllr Jonathan Essex (Green Party) and Cllr Barbara Thomson (Conservative Party) - and to all the students who participated.
We're always looking to support and encourage local democracy throughout the year, so if you have any questions or would like to get involved, please feel free to contact us at: