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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Local Democracy Week

eldw 2017 citizenship ceremony

2017 ELDW Dates and Theme

The Borough Council is one of many local authorities across Europe celebrating the tenth anniversary of European Local Democracy Week (ELDW). 

The theme is set by the Congress of the Council of Europe. This year's theme is "Citizen participation, consultation and commitment: for a thriving local democracy". This is to reflect the changing context of citizen participation, and its link to the original purpose of ELDW - to increase democratic participation at a local level by raising people's knowledge and understanding of how democracy works where they live. 

The official dates for ELDW are 9 – 15 October 2017. However, activities and events run at a time convenient to each local authority. 

In our borough, ELDW is part of a year round campaign promoting active involvement in grassroots democracy to all sections of the community  using the 'official' week to highlight specific events and campaigns. This year, the Council is once again working with several partners to run various activities and events for children, young people and adults, spread over a number of weeks.

The Council recognises that getting residents involved in local decision-making processes include increased legitimacy, improved accountability and more efficient delivery of public services.  

 

Don't miss out - Get involved 


ELDW Programme 
There are a number of events and activities in the coming weeks, to see how you could involved:

October Citizenship Ceremony – will have a European-theme as our delegates become new British citizens, witnessed by their guests, the Mayor and Mayoress, and Her Majesty's Deputy Lieutenant of Durham. The ceremony will include an fun, interactive presentation about this year's theme and the important European values that we all share – human rights, equality, the rule of law and democracy.  

'Your vote matters. Don't lose it!' – as voting is one of our rights, there is a big focus on ensuring that everyone entitle to vote is registered, and with a new Electoral (Voter) Register due to be published on 1 December, we want to ensure that the register is as accurate and up to date as possible.

The Council is carrying out a canvass of every residential property in the borough to try and ensure that on one misses out on their right to vote. So if you know someone who is not registered to vote, please encourage them to do so. They can now register online. It only takes a couple of minutes. They will need their national insurance number and date of birth.

Ever thought of becoming a councillor? – the Council will be launching a new campaign called "Stand up for what you believe in - Be a Councillor".

It is part of a national initiative by the Local Government Association (LGA) to raise awareness about the opportunity to become a Councillor and encourage more people to do so. The LGA has produced a step-by-step guide about what councillors do and a quick guide to local government, along with a free online course to help people decide if being a councillor is for them. There is also a guide to becoming a councillor for people with disabilities.

There are some new case studies about existing Councillors to show that they are ordinary people just like you.

'Young people should be seen and heard' – the Council is committed to listening to the voices of local young people and engaging them as partners in decision making.

The Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People meet with young people from across the Borough at Stockton Youth Assembly. The next meeting is on Tuesday 21 November in the Jim Cooke Suite at Stockton library.

The Council has a long term strategy to turn 'little' voters into 'big' voters. Count de Voters is supporting several primary school council elections - promoting the value of every individual’s voice, the importance of voting, being on the register, the role of school councillors, and active citizenship within their school community.

2017/18 Mayor’s Civic Awards – it's a great time to highlight the excellent contributions made by all sections of our community to improve the quality of life and wellbeing in the borough. So take the opportunity to nominate an individual, group, business or organisation for this year's civic awards.

‘Wear Red Day' 20 October 2017 – Show racism the red card, the UK's anti-racism educational charity, has organised this fund raising event to encourage everyone to unite against racism for one day by wearing items of ‘red’ clothing and donating £1.

The Council and a number of other organisations are supporting the campaign with local 'Wear Red Day' events and activities - including 'painting the town red' by lighting up the Town Hall, the town centre fountains and the riverside in red. There will also be a couple of guest appearances by professional footballers from Middlesbrough F.C.

Why don't you organise your own 'Wear red  Day' and get friends, family and work colleagues involved to show their support for stopping racism, discrimination and prejudice.

Town Hall visits and tours – in the next few weeks the Mayor will be welcoming a number of different groups to the Town Hall to enjoy a fun tour, whilst finding out about finding out about its interesting past and present uses; some of the borough’s famous citizens; and the role of the Mayor and local councillors. The visitors include students from the International Study Centre and a primary school.

'Meet the Mayor– the Mayor, Councillor Maurice Perry, will be attending a number of community and fundraising events, meeting residents. awarding prizes and supporting various school events. 

If you fancy bringing your community/interest group or club/associations for a tour of the Town Hall, or would like to invite the Mayor to a community event, contact the Mayor's Office.

Become a volunteer  if you have some spare time, there are loads of opportunities to volunteer in the local community. Find something you enjoy doing and help others at the same time. 

You could try getting involved in a one-off event/activity, and then decide if you want to do it for a longer period.

For example, you could join the Mayor in raising much needed funds for charities that are close to your heart. 

 

More information

For more information, please contact our Democratic Engagement Officer. In the meantime, here are some other things which might interest you:

Watch this fun animation about voter registration

Arrange to go to some of the great public events that are coming up.

Find out more about the role of the Council and our ‘Big plans for an outstanding Borough’; 

Find out who your local councillor is, what they do and their contact details;  

 

ELDW Background

Local Democracy Week began as an annual UK event in 1998 to raise young people's awareness about what their council does, how it works and how to influence decisions.

In 2007, the Congress of the Council of Europe (CoE) launched European Local Democracy Week (ELDW), and introduced a '12 Star City' concept to recognise authorities making an outstanding contribution to raising their citizens' awareness of local democracy, the role of councillors and the opportunities to get involved in local decision making.

In 2011, Stockton on Tees Borough Council became the first UK Local Authority to participate in ELDW as a '12 Star City', alongside places like Paris, Brussels and Tbilisi, and has retained that status for the last five years. The Council will be again be participating in the 2017 ELDW as a '12 Star City'. We are seeking to achieve this through activities and events being delivered across the borough by various council services and partner organisations.