‘Voice Box’ project concerns reveal youth concerns in east Suffolk

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 - Credit: Archant

Young people in east Suffolk have revealed which local issues they consider to be most important as the first round of results from the Youth Voice Box programme have been revealed.

Youngsters in Suffolk Coastal were provided with specially marked boxes to provide their views on local problems.

The project was conceived by the council’s Communities Team and followed a youth conference in the district last year.

The first round of suggestions were collected up at the end of the first term and have now been revealed.

Each part of the district raised different suggestions for areas they would like the council to look at.

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In Felixstowe and the surrounding areas pupils raised concerns about homelessness and the amount of alcohol consumed by these people.

Art, music and leisure opportunities as well as contraception were also raised in Felixstowe.

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In Kesgrave, 73% of the results centred on issues surrounding the underpass and included litter, flooding and graffiti.

Leisure space was important to students in the Woodbridge area as was access to age appropriate shops.

Moving up to Leiston, students there were interested in public transport issues, school pressures and improvements to public spaces.

Finally in Framlingham there requests for more LGBT groups and community events as well as concerns about transport.

TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member with responsibility for customers, communities and leisure, 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. The onus is then on us, to work together to take positive action to address these issues. 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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