Ninety young people from across Northern Ireland came together at Stormont for the inaugural sitting of the second Northern Ireland Youth Assembly.
The Youth Assembly was founded in April 2021 and Saturday’s sitting welcomed the new members and signalled the official start of the 2023-2025 mandate.
Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey said: “I am delighted to see our second intake of Youth Assembly members attend their first sitting in Parliament Buildings.
“Having worked closely with the inaugural Youth Assembly, I have observed first-hand the importance and benefits of giving a voice to young people.”
Mr Maskey said he was also pleased that members of the first Youth Assembly came along to Saturday’s meeting.
He said: “They have been a great example of the importance of giving young people their say and made a number of important recommendations on issues such as climate change, mental health and the rights of children and young people.
“It is crucial that they have the opportunity to interact with the new members and to discuss their experiences as members of the inaugural Youth Assembly.”
During their two-year term, Youth Assembly members will meet regularly in Parliament Buildings, in meetings chaired by the Assembly Speaker.
They will also participate in smaller committee meetings to discuss their ideas, views and recommendations.
Youth Assembly members will be offered a range of training and support.
This will include learning about how the Assembly works, making presentations, conducting research and talking to experts about issues of concern.
Mr Maskey concluded: “As always, I am inspired by the knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication displayed by our local young people.
“This first sitting is no exception and I’m looking forward to seeing our new members develop their ideas and plans for this important second mandate of the Youth Assembly.
“In the coming months, they will continue to meet to discuss and flesh out the areas that they wish to focus on and will begin the process of forming committees, as well as contributing to and driving forward their programme of work and activities.
“I have no doubt that these bright and dedicated young people will make the second Youth Assembly a resounding success”.