Youth Cabinet raise cost of living concerns for young people in West Sussex

Members of the County Council’s Youth Cabinet have spoken about the cost of living pressures young people across West Sussex are facing.

During a debate at County Hall, senior County Councillors and staff heard the Youth Cabinet outline areas of concern, including access to text books and school uniform, children’s mental health support and the cost of transport to school and college.

Held in the Council Chamber on 24 January, it was the latest forum for the cabinet to raise the issues that young people in West Sussex face and to influence and help improve the work the council does to support children and families.

Youth Cabinet chair Iffat Rahman led the debate. Iffat said: “It was very exciting to be able to hold our annual discussion in the County Council Chambers for the first time since lockdown, and it was a great opportunity for our youth cabinet to meet and get involved with local councillors. I found the discussion to be insightful and interesting, overall it was a successful evening.”

Keeping people safe from vulnerable situations is one of four key priorities within Our Council Plan. The meeting heard about the work West Sussex County Council is doing to support those in financial hardship, including:

• Providing supermarket food vouchers during school holidays for all West Sussex children who receive free school meals
• The library service handing out 2,000 essential toiletry packs for those in most need
• Offering free study spaces for young people to use in libraries
• The continued support provided by the County Council’s Community Hub
• Additional work to explore support for period poverty, the re-distribution of food through food hubs and exploring ways for school uniforms to be recycled.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, said: “It was really important to hear from our Youth Cabinet about the impact the cost of living pressures are having on our young people. We discussed ways we can continue to work together to offer support to those who need it and raise awareness about the help that’s available.”

The Council’s cost of living webpages includes dedicated information, advice and practical support available.