Sheffield Youth Council's Holly

An edited version of this article was published in the Burngreave Messenger in April 2011.

Holly Pool
Holly Pool

Story: Colombine Neal

Holly Pool is an ambitious 17 year old girl from Burngreave, Pitsmoor, who went to Firshill Primary School and is now at King Ecgbert Sixth Form in Totley. At the moment, she is doing A-levels in History, Geography, English Literature and Philosophy and also helps out with the school theatre productions. She decided to stand for Sheffield Youth Council a few months ago and has now been elected to represent the North East of Sheffield. This area encompasses Burngreave, Firth Park, Shiregreen Brightside and Southey. To say that she has a lot on her hands is putting it mildly but she seems to be a very focussed, confident and generally enthusiastic and happy person. The Messenger caught up with her to find out why, how and where she is going and how the youth of the North East of Sheffield can join in, and I was pleasantly surprised.

So Holly, why exactly did you stand?

I stood for Sheffield Youth Council because I felt that I have a lot of experience from working on committees at school. I was the chair of my school council in year 11 and got the feel of working with adults and students alike. I am also a very confident public speaker and good at giving presentations. I felt that the people in my area had a need for an outlet for their opinions and what they wanted to do and change in Sheffield, and I felt that I would be able to perform this job quite efficiently.

How did you hear about it?

When I was on the school council, we had a guest speaker called Tess come to talk to us about the Sheffield Youth Council and ask if we wanted to get involved. Because I go to school in Totley, they gave me a chance to stand for election in that area. I chose to stand for the North East because I believe it fits with where I have grown up and my personality and I feel like I would have more to offer. Basically she told me about what they do and how you help your area; and that it is a type of committee that meets the first Wednesday of every month. An example is that Pitsmoor might need a new type of Youth centre, whilst Totley doesn’t. There are different needs and different people stick up for different constituencies. I was really interested in that and my teachers all wanted me to go for it, the support was great. So we had to fill in an application form about why I wanted to do it. Then a couple of months ago the leaflets got sent out to the schools in the constituency and within a couple of weeks people voted for who they wanted to be elected. There are two from each area, so there is me and a boy called Bilal who’s from Firvale School.

What about the people who didn’t get elected?

They can still join in, just like anybody else. And it isn’t just people from this district; we have representatives from the Lesbian, gay and bisexual group, and people who are from different ethnic groups, carers and children with learning difficulties or disabilities. So you have a wide range of people who then get together and we discuss what we want – what could or should be changed. We have only just started, so we don’t have anything proper going yet. We have recently heard that the woman that was originally running it is going to be leaving. She was amazing. It is a bit worrying really because she was really passionate and we don’t know who is going to replace her yet.

Sheffield Youth Council
Sheffield Youth Council

So in this light, how are your meetings going and do you all get along?

Well, we had training days which was really good to get to know everyone and see who you are going to be working with for at least another couple of years. We are working out what we are going to do and putting it together basically. We got to work with our councillors for our area. One day we got to go to the town hall and got to sit in on a meeting. So we got to see how that was run and if we wanted to run our meetings that way. It was a great opportunity and interesting to see how it works. We have a chair now called Luke and he’s really committed and is obviously into it and knows what he’s doing.

But what are you doing right now and how can we contact you?

Well, since we’ve only just started out for this year, we have not really got an action plan yet. A lot has changed since last year and we have basically been setting it up. But in the coming meetings, it should be more content-based. I believe that we shouldn’t just be copying the way the year before worked and that each new group that comes into it should bring their own ideas to the table and bring some change that could be for the better. We want to find a way to communicate with the north east, so I have created an email address,, through which people generally aged 11-21 can contact me with problems or questions, with stuff they want to change, stuff they want me to look into, questions they have about the way the city or the area is being run and I will do my best to find them answers. And there is obviously not just me, there is Bilal, so people at Firvale School will be able to talk to him. One important thing I want to make evident is that this isn’t just my opinion that will count because I got elected, everyone has a say.

So, to conclude; is there a main issue or goal you would like to address?

One thing I put in my manifesto and which is also one of the main goals I have whilst on this committee is the way the people in this area are represented. It is shocking. All we ever get is negative press, knife crime, etc. You never get to hear, for example, what the young people are doing, about the youth groups, the church groups, the many great organizations, and generally the amazing things about this area. Like the whole culture which is incredible; you don’t get this in many places. And really, the reputation of an area is quite important. It is sad, for example, that my friends from school who aren’t from this area won’t come over to mine because they are scared or their parents say it isn’t safe. But in every area there is some kind of crime, there will be something that is bad. And that is all they are showing of this place and that isn’t fair. We have loads to offer and I think that that isn’t being shown. And I am not sure how yet, but I am going to find a way to boost this reputation, even by small things. I just want the idea out there that there are great things to be offered.

So on this positive note, we rounded off the interview. Holly seems to have a great set of ideals which will surely be achieved in time. I let her get off so she could get back to her revision and wish her the best of luck. So just to emphasize and remind you to please join in and get in contact. Here is her email address: and a website with a wide range of information you can have a look at:

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The content on this page was added to the website by Christine Steers on 2011-04-01 15:15:46.
The content of the page was last modified by Douglas Johnson on 2011-04-04 21:48:48.

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