A COUNCILLOR is up for a prestigious award thanks to her  efforts to give young people a strong voice in the community.

Councillor Claire Leitch, who is East Ayrshire Council’s spokeswoman for Children and Young People, Environment, Climate Change, Equalities and Inclusion is one of three finalists in the LGUI Awards Champion of Education category.

The Ballochmyle SNP councillor made a big impact when she pushed hard to get young people’s views into the council’s decision making process – in particular on climate change.

Her work would go on to see a yearly climate conference as well as the formation of a Youth Cabinet, which meets with the full East Ayrshire Cabinet.

She said that simply being elected as one of the youngest councillors in the country was a ‘privilege’ and that being able to listen to young people across East Ayrshire, and getting their voices heard and acted upon was a ‘huge joy’.

The 30-year-old added: “I have always worked to make sure that every young person, regardless of age or background, has had an equal opportunity to help shape council decision-making.

“I am humbled that the young people of East Ayrshire thought to nominate me for this award and I would assure them that I will continue to champion their rights for as long as I am an elected representative.”

The work of the Youth Cabinet has been a highlight of the last few years.

Cllr Leitch said that the young people had proven strong and confident and were ‘very much at the forefront’ when it came to developing EAC’s Climate Change Strategy.

The LGUI Scotland awards takes place at the end of November.