SCHOOL PUPIL Maddie Pritchard, 17, from Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Durwill take up the role for the coming year and says her focus will now be on the Welsh language as well as helping the environment.
She was given the title by the council’s Chief Executive Karen Jones at a ceremony in Neath Port Talbot this week, taking over from outgoing Youth Mayor Bethan Nicholas-Thomas, with the Child Commissioner for Wales also in attendance.
The positions of Youth Mayor and Deputy Youth Mayor are elected annually by Neath Port Talbot’s Youth Council to ensure young people are given a voice and have a say on local issues that matter to them.
Speaking at the inauguration Maddie said she would like to focus on championing the Welsh language and the environment over the course of the year.
She said: “My main priority is the Welsh language as I am a fluent Welsh speaker and I fully support the Welsh Government’s aim of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
“I’d like to release Welsh lessons for beginners to local residents as it’s a very major issue in my opinion and I’d encourage as many people as possible locally to learn to speak Welsh as it’s a big passion of mine.
“The environment is also going to be very high on my agenda this year as it’s a very relevant problem for me and for other young people across Neath Port Talbot.”
At the ceremony, Gracie Radmore, of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic School And Sixth Form Centre, was inaugurated as Deputy Youth Mayor.
Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr Robert Wood said the roles were very important to the council, and would help engage the area’s youth with local politics.
He said: “I think this is an excellent appointment and Maddie will do very well in the role. It’s very important to us as a council that we get the views of all our residents across the borough, and the Youth Mayor is a big part of that.
“The role of Youth Mayor started four years ago in Neath Port Talbot, and has had a growing importance each year. It allows us to engage with the next generation, as we saw with the lowering of the voting age over the last few years, and it helps give young people a voice. “