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New Youth Council elected in Helsinki – €150,000 allocated through young people’s participatory budgeting

Helsinki celebrated youth empowerment at the traditional RuutiGaala event in Tiivistämö, Suvilahti, on Wednesday, 8 December. The results of the Helsinki Youth Council election were announced at the event. A total of 74 young people from various parts of Helsinki stood for election, and 30 representatives were elected to the Youth Council for the two-year term 2022–2023. The new Youth Council will start its term of office on 1 January 2022.

A total of 28,538 young people were entitled to vote in the election, and 10,799 votes were cast.The turnout reached 38.1%, having been 35.4% in the previous election in 2019. The largest number of votes was cast in Kontula and Vuosaari.

Impact of COVID-19 reflected in the results of participatory budgeting

During the evening, €150,000 was allocated from young people’s participatory budgeting system RuutiBudjetti to activities selected by young people. The sum was divided equally between Eastern, Western and Northern Youth Work. In 2022, the budget will be used for, among other things, the Laajasalo summer park in the Eastern Youth Work area, a summer sports event for young people in the Western area and a school closing event and the Sateenkaareva festival in the Northern area.

“The results of the vote put more emphasis than before on joint activities and entertainment, such as excursions and events. For example, in the Eastern RuutiBudjetti negotiations, young people emphasised the importance of situations where it is easy to meet and get to know new people. The impact of the long COVID-19 period is clearly visible in the results of participatory budgeting,” says Mikko Vatka, Director of Youth Affairs.

All in all, approximately 14 000 young people took part in the various phases of participatory budgeting in 2021. In 2020, approximately 10 000 young people participated in the process.

Youth empowerment to be developed in the city’s current strategy period

Having started in 2011 with pilots implemented by youth work and schools together, the Ruuti system celebrated its tenth anniversary this year. Over the past ten years, young people’s opportunities for influence in the city have become significantly more diverse and stronger.

“During the city’s current strategy period, young people’s opportunities for influence will be increased by, among other things, strengthening the commitment and joint management of all the city’s divisions. From now on, more attention will be paid to strengthening participation in the daily lives of children and young people, and the development of young people’s experience of participation will be monitored,” says Mikko Vatka.

View the composition of the new Youth Council here.

Photo: Mila Eremina