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Belfast Healthy Cities Giving a voice to local children

20th June 2017

Belfast Healthy Cities, a World Health Organization initiative in Northern Ireland, today provided a platform for local children to give their views on the development of Child Friendly spaces in Belfast under the theme ‘Healthy Places, Healthy Children’ with Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister in attendance.

Pupils from eleven local primary schools across the city gathered in the Girdwood Community Hub, Belfast to discuss how the physical environment around children can impact their health. 

The pupils piloted the use of a new dedicated teaching resource in the classroom over recent months and today was the culmination of that work. They presented their learning experiences and proposals that could improve their environments and make their local areas more ‘child-friendly’ to a panel of decision makers from health, housing and planning Departments who will provide feedback on the children’s proposals.

Joan Devlin from Belfast Healthy Cities welcomed the events.

"In our experience children are very aware of what they want from a child friendly and a safe environment. It is important that they form their own views and are listened to by policy makers and we are delighted with today’s event.

"We are grateful to the councillors and the statutory agencies who agreed to take part and we know that in previous years these fora can lead to specific and demonstrable policy changes. These children are the future of our city and it is vital that their voices are heard.”

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister, said:

"As the mother of a young child, I am very aware of the need to make our city as accessible, friendly and safe as possible for our children. They are the future citizens, decision-makers and leaders of our city, and it is important that we listen to their voices in creating a city in which they not only feel comfortable but in which they, in turn, want to play their part in developing and evolving. I congratulate Belfast Healthy Cities in facilitating this initiative and making sure that the voices of our children are heard.”

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