Felixstowe trailblazer to be repeated

AN award-wining forum which is giving youngsters in Felixstowe a voice in shaping the future of their town is set to be tried elsewhere in the county.The group meets regularly in term-time with councillors and officials to discuss a wide range of issues - allowing children to air their concerns and highlight problems and press for more facilities.

AN award-wining forum which is giving youngsters in Felixstowe a voice in shaping the future of their town is set to be tried elsewhere in the county.

The group meets regularly in term-time with councillors and officials to discuss a wide range of issues - allowing children to air their concerns and highlight problems and press for more facilities.

The meeting - which is attended by youngsters from Deben and Orwell High Schools, Causton Junior, Colneis Junior and Level2 youth centre - also enables the children to see how councillors and other agencies work and gain an understanding of democracy.

Now moves are under way to set up a similar forum for the Suffolk Coastal area and other areas around the county could follow.

Town and district councillor Doreen Savage said the forum was providing an excellent opportunity for youngsters to have their say.

“It has been really successful and has given ourselves as councillors a much clearer insight into the needs and concerns of our young people, as well as allowing the young people to understand the limits within which we work,” she said.

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“The discussions have been excellent at the meetings and the youngsters are never afraid to make their views known.

“They ask very good questions and have come up with some excellent ideas.

“We need to do all we can to ensure our youngsters feel a part of our town, that it is their town, too, and this is a brilliant initiative.”

The group's had work and commitment has already been recognised with the award of the High Sheriff's Community safety Award.

The group was presented with a trophy and £750, which it is planning to use for a project to help stop cycle thefts.

Other topics which the group has played a role in the past couple of years include the provision of a skatepark in the area and members are now planning to take part in fundraising as well as the design of the park.

One member has also been a member of the Youth Parliament, and the group has pressed for improved play and sports facilities, as well as taking part in an exercise called The Big Question to identify how Felixstowe could become a safer place.

Do you think more notice should be taken of young people's views? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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