Helsinki celebrated youth participation at the Ruuti gala (RuutiGaala) held at Gloria Cultural Arena on 4 December 2018. Awards were presented to initiatives promoting youth participation, and allocations from the Ruuti budget (RuutiBudjetti) to projects selected by young people were announced. The gala culminated in the announcement of the results of the Helsinki Youth Council elections. This is the first Youth Council to have 30 representatives.
The gala audience was addressed by Helsinki Deputy Mayors Nasima Razmyar (Culture and Leisure) and Pia Pakarinen (Education). Pakarinen reminded the audience that all young people have opportunities to participate, for example, at their schools and by joining the City of Helsinki participatory budgeting process. Razmyar emphasized a major achievement of the former Youth Council: this was an experiment beginning in 2019 to give all Youth Council members the right to attend and speak at the City of Helsinki division committee meetings.
New Youth Councillors announced
The new Youth Council has 30 members, up from 20 until now. The new Youth Councillors are: Chaiwat Kiattrakoolchai, Kasper Rautalinko, Vivian Ljungvist, Aapo Kivivuori, Sampo Hallivuori, Jimi Joutsio, Alma Rantalaiho, Abdalla Mao, Lauri Pyykkö, Jim Koskinen, Jenny Vu, Pekka Ahosola, Jamaal Farrah, Rebekka Baer, Elias Mustamand, Sara Kallionkieli, Antti Avoranta, Elli Haaramo, Tilda Lassila, Iiris Kuparinen, Minttu Laakso, Khalid Omar, Sigrid Autio, Milja Vertola, Elo Umukoro, Max TalviOja, Polina Ivanova, Dan Cederlöf, Joel Helin and Virva Paloviita. A total of 9,493 votes were cast in the Youth Council elections, and the voter turnout was 35.74%.
The Helsinki Youth Council is a group elected annually to influence various matters of importance to young people in Helsinki. The Youth Council is tasked to enable the voices of young people to be heard. Furthermore, the Youth Council is tasked to promote and to support youth participation and the impact of youth action both in the city and in the operations of the City of Helsinki divisions.
Ruuti budget to support
activities counteracting social exclusion and bullying
Allocations totalling 150,000 euros made from the Ruuti budget, which were announced at the gala, go to projects proposed and selected by young people. They include activities to support young people’s mental health and employment, and projects and events to counteract social exclusion and bullying. Allocations were also granted to leisure activities and youth spaces.
The Ruuti budget is a participatory budgeting programme for 13–17-year-olds, in which decisions on leisure activities, services and budget allocations are made together with young people. Young people developed tens of proposals for action in local workshops held earlier in the year. The 150,000 euros allocated to selected projects come from the 2018 budget of the City of Helsinki Youth Services.
The selection of the projects to be funded was made in negotiations between the Helsinki Youth Council and City of Helsinki Youth Services local managers on 3 December. The selection emphasized regional and other equality, the overall impact of the projects, and initiatives with the broadest impact.