Councillors determined to make the voices of young people heard
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Two town councillors are hoping to encourage greater engagement with the young people of Beccles to ensure their voices and ideas are heard.
Caroline Topping and Andrea Downes will once again be acting as the youth champions for Beccles Town Council in the coming year.
The pair are keen to build on the work they did last year alongside Sam Kenward – who has since stepped down as a youth champion .
They are also planning to continue the Beccles Youth Express magazine as well as open a new youth café in Blyburgate Hall.
Mrs Topping said: “It will be an informal youth café rather than a club. A place for young people to come in and have a space to do homework, have a chat.
You may also want to watch:
“Even skateboard in the car park as there will be four town councillors supervising.”
The idea for the youth club was first suggested to the councillors by teenagers in the area – who felt the space would act as a deterrent for troublesome behaviour.
- 1 Tributes to much-loved Laura, 28, after Covid death
- 2 Touching tributes paid to 'great teacher and lovely man'
- 3 'No black hole' - MP reveals two new vaccine centres in towns
- 4 Woman in her 20s among 31 Covid patients to die in five days at hospital
- 5 Restaurant fined for refusing to close in third lockdown
- 6 Suffolk Covid rates declining, but increased deaths expected for next three weeks
- 7 'We're very anxious at the moment': Co-Op staff on public abuse
- 8 Why some over 70s get the Covid vaccine before over 80s
- 9 'Beccles Mafia' reported to police for harassing elderly shoppers
- 10 Suffolk adhering to lockdown three restrictions as much as first lockdown, data shows
She said: “We were interested in talking to young people to discuss what they need in Beccles that would stop them getting into trouble.
“We held a meeting and they were brilliant. They had lots of ideas and even gave a Powerpoint presentation.”
Ms Downes added: “It’s great because they have got these ideas that haven’t been hampered down by the wider world.
“They need to know they are recognised and we are listening.”
The councillors are now hoping more young people will follow suit and provide suggestions which will benefit the town for the next generation.
Ms Downes is also determined to promote greater understanding of mental health among the town’s youngsters and let them know the facilities available.
She said: “I am on the town council because I love Beccles. My passion is mental health and I have learnt a lot about what is available.”
Ms Downes outlined the pressures youngsters today face, such as exam stress, that they may be unwilling to talk about.
Over the next year the councillors will work to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and develop links to organisations to help those impacted by it.
For more information or to get in touch with the councillors visit the Beccles Youth Champions Facebook page.