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'There isn't anything for us here': Youngsters reveal their views on life in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 00:01 03 July 2019

The issues facing Suffolk's young people were brought into focus by the death of Tavis Spencer Aitkens  Picture: SARAH LUCY  BROWN

The issues facing Suffolk's young people were brought into focus by the death of Tavis Spencer Aitkens Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Young people have voiced concerns over a lack of opportunities for them in Suffolk during an in-depth investigation into their views on life in the county.

Bishop Martin said it was vital young people had a platform from which they could be heard Picture: KEITH MINDHAMBishop Martin said it was vital young people had a platform from which they could be heard Picture: KEITH MINDHAM

The University of Suffolk has compiled the report, to be launched today by Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Martin Seeley, to look at young people's views on their communities and the challenges they face.

People aged between 11 and 18 volunteered to take part in the research, saying that they felt there wasn't anthing for young people in Suffolk and had concerns over social exclusion.

The issues facing young people in the county, including knife crime and gang violence, were brought into focus last year following the death of 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens.

It was hoped that the research would ensure that young people felt that they had a voice when it came to identifying issues in their areas, as well as finding solutions.

Young people have revealed their thoughts on life in Suffolk in a report.  Picture: University of SuffolkYoung people have revealed their thoughts on life in Suffolk in a report. Picture: University of Suffolk

Bishop Martin said: "It is vital young people living in Suffolk with some of the problems that have been widely publicised have a platform to be heard about, both on the issues and the solutions.

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"This report by the University of Suffolk will make a significant contribution to our understanding of their lives and views.

"What is clear is that they do have clear opinions and perhaps surprisingly, a very common and coherent set of views wherever they are in the county.

Young people have revealed their thoughts on life in Suffolk in a report.  Picture: University of SuffolkYoung people have revealed their thoughts on life in Suffolk in a report. Picture: University of Suffolk

"In terms of next steps, it is my role to challenge those with influential voices in Suffolk to work together and respond quickly and meaningfully.

"We will also be looking at some new funding streams to help."

Katie Tyrrell, research associate at the university and author of the report, said: "Young people are often consulted in a tokenistic way. This research was a way to actively engage with young people meaningfully.

"They were pleased to be asked, to give their views and responded enthusiastically.

"There are clear messages in the report and it is vital that young people continue to contribute to the identification of issues and the development of solutions."

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