MEET the next generation of community leaders.

For the next six weeks a group of young people will be getting to grips with the business of politics and learning the ropes from their councillors.

They'll be sitting in on surgeries, taking part in ward walks and attending important town hall meetings to see first hand how the complicated and often difficult decision-making process works.

It’s part of an project co-ordinated by Wigan Council’s Voice and Engagement Team which will culminate in the young people achieving a national leadership award.

Youth worker Cathy Morley said: “The young people chosen to take in this project are all members of Wigan’s Youth Cabinet and they’re all interested in changing things for the better for other young people in our borough.

"Part of what they are doing is finding out about the different mechanisms in the council that enable people to have their say and influence change.”

The group of young cabinet members must spend at least 10 hours with their councillor to achieve the ASDAN leadership award which is supported by the British Youth Council.

This week the young hopefuls met their elected representatives at a special getting to know you session and together they planned the way forward.

Councillors taking part in the project include Atherleigh’s Clr Susan Loudon, Hindley’s Clr Jim Talbot and Leigh West’s Clr Myra Whiteside.

They will be shadowed by Youth Parliament members Alice Wilcock, Grace Thomson, Mollie Dennis, Neomi Midgely, Adrian Speakman, Joe Atherton, Rory Gilmore, Dagmara Galecka, Leighton Watherworth, David Stacey, Leonie Bury, Maria Lowe and Jack Richardson.

A national campaign, launched last week., called Make Your Mark is looking for topics for Youth Parliament to debate in the House of Commons in November.

Voting started on International Youth Day and any young person can vote online via Twitter - at #MakeYourMark.