Pupils get a taste of council work in Sam ’n Ella’s Kitchen

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By ExmouthPeople | Thursday, November 28, 2013, 15:44

FORTY pupils from local primary schools ‘took over’ East Devon District Council for a day and had a go at running things.

They even got a ‘taste’ of the work done by EDDC’s Environmental Health inspectors when they visited Sam ’n Ella’s kitchen at Knowle in Sidmouth for a food hygiene check.

On Friday 22 November pupils from the following five schools visited the Council’s HQ to learn more about its services and meet Staff and Councillors:

• St Martin’s in Cranbrook

• All Saints’ in Axminster

• Bassetts Farm in Exmouth

• Branscombe Primary School

• Broadhembury Primary School

The ten and 11 year olds were taking part in National Takeover Day, which aims to get children and young people involved with how decisions are made. It also provides organisations with a fresh perspective on the services they run.

Throughout the day youngsters got the chance to take part in a number of activities, including mock food hygiene inspections and recycling workshops. EDDC’s Chairman (Councillor Graham Godbeer), plus Vice-Chairman and Member Champion for Youth (Councillor Christine Drew) joined staff and children to take part in a special mock council meeting, where pupils got to decide the fate of a hypothetical planning application for a fast food restaurant.

Mock-up cafe

Meanwhile, staff from the council’s Housing team helped children plan community events for local housing estates, finding out what they’d most like to see. The Council will follow up by making the plans a reality next year and hosting the events in the children’s communities.

Elsewhere “Sam ’n Ella’s” mock-up cafe kitchen gave pupils the chance to play detective and spot all the things which would be a danger to food hygiene and health and safety. The scene included several memorable moments, including the owner’s unique take on personal hygiene in a kitchen with no hot water and several blocked sinks. The lessons from the grotty kitchen not only showed the job the Council does in inspecting restaurants and food premises, but also meant youngsters will be more aware of risks at home.

The Waste and Recycling Team worked with the children to teach them about how countries trade resources.

Councillor Christine Drew, EDDC’s Member Champion for Youth, said: "This is the sixth year we've taken part in National Takeover Day. It's a great opportunity for councillors and officers to spend time with a younger generation, and I’m very grateful to everyone who took part. I think we all learned something!"

Followers of the council’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were also able to see events unfold throughout the day, with picture updates posted under the hashtag #takeoverday

The day is just a small part of the work the Council undertakes to involve young people in their council and community as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility. This includes getting youngsters to design play areas and flowerbeds, decide where funds should be spent on leisure and sports facilities, running inter-generational events where old and young work together, holding junior life skills events, working with young tenants, offering an environmental education programme and running a Junior Ranger Club after school on the Axe Wetlands.

      

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