More help for youngsters
A FLURRY of initiatives is under way in North Walsham to improve life for young people and give them a better image.The moves follow a groundswell of public discontent about a lack of facilities for youngsters and headline-hitting stories about boy racers, petty vandalism, drunkenness and intimidating behaviour by a small number of youths in the town.
A FLURRY of initiatives is under way in North Walsham to improve life for young people and give them a better image.
The moves follow a groundswell of public discontent about a lack of facilities for youngsters and headline-hitting stories about boy racers, petty vandalism, drunkenness and intimidating behaviour by a small number of youths in the town.
Now groups have been set up to look at what's on offer for the town's younger generation, funding and help available for more options, and promoting good news about youngsters.
At their heart is a newly-formed youth forum which will eventually include young representatives from all sectors of the community, including schools, college, work, minorities, children in care and those with disabilities.
The forum, currently run by a steering group based at North Walsham High School, will come up with ideas for activities and events with youth appeal, and act as both a voice for young people and an important port of call for those in power seeking the youth view before making decisions.
Forum representatives would also attend the May town meeting and would be involved in discussions over the future of North Walsham's town centre, said county councillor Paul Morse, the driving force behind the moves.
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The county council's Youth and Community Service, police, the Benjamin Foundation and Griffon Area Partnership are also taking active roles.
Mr Morse said grumbles about the town offering very little for youth, and anti-social behaviour, featured largely whenever he canvassed residents' views.
A county-wide survey had also concluded that providing more activities for youngsters was felt to be a top priority. And a recent report to the county council had revealed that only seven percent of respondents were satisfied with activities available to Norfolk teenagers.
“I feel there is a growing disconnect between the generations,” said Mr Morse. “Young people are as appalled as adults are about anti-social behaviour and they want to be disassociated from it.
“They ask some very pertinent questions and bring a different dimension to things - they are the future of the town and they deserve to be listened to.”