Youth take over Wandsworth council to highlight issues that matter to them

Wandsworth council took part in the annual Big Takeover challenge to help shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most to young people living in Wandsworth.

Discussing subjects such as youth club access and financing children’s services, around 75 teenagers from the borough came together last week to use their collective voice to influence decision-making in the council.

Running from 25 – 29 October, the event was put together this year by Participation People, who run Wandsworth Youth Council.

Over 20 senior leaders of the council were joined by 13-18 year olds from across the borough to hear what is important to them and learn how decisions are made behind the scenes.

battersea power station
YOUTH TAKEOVER: The teenagers visited Battersea Power Station with members of Wandsworth council

Participation development lead for Wandsworth Children’s Services, Amelia Willis said: “The event runs up and down the country, and it is all about making sure young people’s voices are heard in a fun way.

“After the takeover, there are lots of youth voice events, so it’s about making sure they know there are a lot of different opportunities.”

The Big Takeover challenge is a national event that councils up and down the country participate in to encourage teenagers to speak openly with council leaders, and tell them what they want from the council.

It was created by the Children’s Commissioner for England in 2006 and Wandsworth council have participated in the event since.

The council received a Gold Commendation award from the Children’s Commissioner back in 2016, for their effort in involving young people in their work.

Amelia added: “This is where we invite young people to ‘take over’ the roles of our senior leaders and decision makers – usually for the day.

“Working with Participation People, we ran multiple sessions across our borough in one of our special schools, the Youth Offending Office, the Town Hall, a specialist youth club and two other youth clubs.

“This ensures activities are as inclusive and as accessible as possible.

“These conversations take place within the heart of our community and with the most important people at the centre – our young people.” 

Feature Image: “Wandsworth town hall” by Matt From London is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

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