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Framlingham’s young people want better buses, improved street lighting and more LGBT events

PUBLISHED: 11:30 07 February 2019

One of the Youth Voice boxes currently installed at a number of local schools Picture: CHLOE WINLOW

One of the Youth Voice boxes currently installed at a number of local schools Picture: CHLOE WINLOW

Archant

Young people in Framlingham and surrounding villages have shared their vision for a brighter future – with top priorities including better transport links, mental health support, street lights and LGBT events.

As part of the Youth Voice project run by the Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC), youngsters submitted their hopes for the town in suggestion boxes posted in schools and other communal areas.

A summary of the submissions created by the council’s communities team showed 25% of young people requested more LGBT groups and community events in the area, while many also stressed the need for mental health support within their schools.

Transport was also described as a “big issue” for the area, with many youngsters concerned about poor access to regular bus services – which they claim has an impact on their educational and social opportunities.

Meanwhile, concerns were raised over community safety, with some calling for improved street lighting.

On a similar note, the youngsters called for floodlights at the skate park, which would help keep the area safe for all to use.

Their hopes and concerns will now be fed back to the district council, where discussions will be had about the potential to develop ideas and make necessary changes.

MORE: ‘Voice boxes’ hope to give east Suffolk youngsters their say

TJ Haworth-Culf, SCDC’s cabinet member for customers, communities and leisure, said the voice boxes were an “exciting new initiative” designed to keep young people in the loop on key issues.

“Local councils are always being criticised for being out of touch with the community, particularly young people,” she said.

“The Youth Voice is an exciting new initiative that we are introducing across East Suffolk, where we are taking a different approach to interacting with young people.

“Importantly, it is the young people who raise the burning issues that they feel need addressing in their communities, by posting their ideas into a ‘Youth Voice’ box supplied to High Schools and youth clubs in their area.

“This information is then put into a report, which is circulated to councillors and other decision makers.”

Mrs Haworth-Culf said the onus is then on the council to take “positive action” to address the issues.

She added: “Unlike previous forums, where the information used to disappear into a black hole, this system holds those in authority to account, because the action we take on each of the issues is then fed back to the young people, as real time success stories, through our Instagram page @youthvoice_es.

“The system will also allow us to see where there is a consensus across communities, where a trend or area of concern is developing, which needs action across the district.”

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