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More than 500 Kesgrave teenagers added to free Ipswich icard handout thanks to zero-hour efforts of councillors

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 July 2018

Jumpers for Goalposts is one of the events the icards will help youngsters access Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Jumpers for Goalposts is one of the events the icards will help youngsters access Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

More than 500 teenagers in Kesgrave will get free icards this summer alongside thousands of Ipswich youngsters, after councillors put together a zero-hour effort to secure the additional cards.

Youngsters in Ipswich will get a free iCard for the duration of the six week holidays Picture: JASON NOBLEYoungsters in Ipswich will get a free iCard for the duration of the six week holidays Picture: JASON NOBLE

Ipswich Borough Council announced it would provide Ipswich children with free icards over the six week school holidays, following the death of Ipswich teenager Tavis Spencer-Aitkens.

The cards allow children to access dozens of free activities and sports over the summer break, with the hope that the cards will keep youngsters busy and prevent them from falling in with gangs.

The cards stretched from postcodes IP1-4, leaving youngsters in IP5 Kesgrave unable to take advantage of the handouts.

But the four Suffolk Coastal district councillors for the area – Debbie McCallum, Stuart Lawson, Geoff Lynch and Susan Mower – pooled their community enabling budgets to generate £8,000 which will fund around 550 free icards for Kesgrave teenagers – around a third of Kesgrave High School’s pupils.

Debbie McCallum said it was important to keep children occupied during the holidays Picture: COLIN SHAWDebbie McCallum said it was important to keep children occupied during the holidays Picture: COLIN SHAW

“I think it’s very important to keep our children occupied,” Mrs McCallum said.

“It’s very sad what has happened, but I do believe we can channel our children’s energy into the right direction.

“The hardest thing is that because it has been done at such short notice there are going to be people that feel they should be included, but what this is is a start.”

Mrs McCallum said Kesgrave youngsters were some of the biggest numbers attending events and activities in Ipswich, which made the cards important, and praised the collaborative efforts of the high school and Ipswich Borough Council.

Now, Mrs McCallum said she hopes Suffolk Coastal and Waveney district councils will investigate a wider scheme going forward.

“Next year this is something Suffolk Coastal and Waveney could look at and put a programme together,” she said.

“It’s important for our children. I would like to see it and start talking about it now, and doing more of this sort of thing.”

Across postcodes IP1-4 around 20,000 youngsters are set to benefit from the six-week cards, with forms being distributed through the schools and cards available to collect from Crown Pools or local sports centres.

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