The first Youth Voice representative has now been appointed to the Dewsbury Town Deal Board.

It follows the creation of the Youth Voice Champions, a diverse group of young people who’ve volunteered to be more involved in Dewsbury’s regeneration projects.

The Dewsbury Town Deal Board was set up to spearhead the regeneration of Dewsbury. We work really closely with them on all elements of the Dewsbury Blueprint, and Cllr Shabir Pandor, the Leader of Kirklees Council, is a member.

Anum Rehman – a Public Services student at Kirklees College, and president of the college’s Students’ Union – volunteered to become a Youth Voice Champion earlier this year. She’s already been engaging with Kirklees Council and the Town Board on their plans for the regeneration of Dewsbury town centre.

Based on her input and commitment so far, Anum has now been offered a position on the Town Board as their first official Youth Voice representative. Going forward, she’ll be even more involved in the consultation around the blueprint projects.

Kirklees Council also looking at more opportunities for Anum and the rest of the Youth Voice Champions to network with other key players in the Dewsbury Blueprint, and help improve how they engage with the public around the changes.

David Shepherd, Strategic Director for Growth & Regeneration at Kirklees Council said; “Dewsbury has one of the youngest and most diverse populations in the UK. These young people are Dewsbury’s future, and it’s incredibly important we listen and take their views into account when making plans that will affect those who live in, work in and visit Dewsbury for decades to come.

“Anum has already proved she has a strong voice. Based on the amount of value she has already brought to conversations around Dewsbury’s future, it’s important to create more opportunities to include her and make sure local young people are represented in these discussions.”

Keith Ramsay, Chairman of the Dewsbury Town Deal Board said; “It’s great to have Anum as part of our team, as it ensures we really listen to – and act upon – what young people tell us.

“Our aim is that by 2030 Dewsbury will be a successful, vibrant town full of opportunity, where people want to live, work and socialise. The Dewsbury of tomorrow is for today’s generation of young people. That’s why it’s so important to have direction from young people at the heart of everything we do.

“Anum blew us away the minute we met her, so she’s the perfect person to lead these conversations.”

Anum Rehman, the Dewsbury Town Deal Board’s new Youth Voice representative, says; “Dewsbury is my hometown and the place I was raised, and I am passionate about its future. Too often young people’s views and opinions aren’t taken into consideration, but I want to ensure our voice is heard before decisions are taken.

“Learning about the Dewsbury Blueprint and engaging with the Town Board, I felt heard and validated – as the youth of Dewsbury, we are valued enough to be informed, allowed to have a say and share opinions on the future of our hometown too. I can see that these changes are being made for the youth of Dewsbury, the future of our society, and I can’t wait to get started.”