What is your big idea for improving Ipswich?
PUBLISHED: 18:05 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:52 12 February 2020
Young people will get the chance to make a persuasive pitch for their big idea which could make life in Ipswich better - with £3,000 up for grabs for the winners to turn their dream into a reality.
Ipswich Opportunity Area, set up with government funding in January 2018 to help improve children's lives, found that many young people in Suffolk's county town did not feel like their views were being listened to.
So it has decided to work with youth group 4YP to create a Dragons' Den-style event called The Ipswich Pitch, aimed at giving younger generations a voice.
People aged between 10 and 25 are being invited to apply by Friday, February 14, with those shortlisted invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges during an event held at the University of Suffolk on Friday, March 6.
They will then grill the youths on whether their pitch helps advance the Opportunity Area's four main goals - improving life for babies and toddlers, improving education standards, benefiting the community and raising people's ambitions.
Up to three winning teams will be given the chance to put their ideas into practice, with grants of up to £3,000 available.
But the Opportunity Area wants to see the cash being used wisely, with the winning groups being asked to return in June 2020 to present a summary of how their project went.
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Kimberly Feldewerth, Ipswich Opportunity Area programme coordinator for community and youth projects, said: "The aim of the event is to enable young people across the town to make their voices heard."
"We felt it would be amazing for young people to have the chance to have their opinion on what they would like to see done.
"We want to make it open to as many people as possible.
"Since the Opportunity Area came into being, crime and mental health issues have only increased.
"We thought it was a great opportunity to raise more issues. It will be about raising awareness of young people - their voices need to be heard more widely."
Eve Dickens, from 4YP, added: "We are very excited to be involved in this project.
"Young people face many challenges and this is an opportunity for a group to make a real difference on an issue they really care about.
"We want to give them every bit of help to make that happen."
To support the application process, 4YP is offering a drop-in session on Thursday, February 13 between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at 14 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich for individuals and groups who are interested in applying but would like to talk through their idea or the application process.
For more information and to download an application form to enter, click here.