Enthusiastic teens get say on shape of things to come
WINCANTON could have a dedicated youth worker after a consultation day at a local school was hailed as a great success.
More than 100 teenagers had their say about what issues are affecting local young people and the opportunities they would like to see made available.
The feedback generated from the event, held at King Arthur's School, will be used by South Somerset District Council to gauge what a prospective new youth worker would work on.
Council officer Tim Cook said: "We managed to talk to more than 150 young people about things that could be done to improve out-of-school activities and facilities in and around Wincanton.
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"All of the young people that took part really got involved and were enthusiastic.
"The initial consultation analysis shows strong support for an informal, drop-in type of youth club, with sports activities and trips also scoring highly.
"We are still analysing the completed questionnaires, but it is clear from the feedback that it would be desirable to have a dedicated youth worker for the town.
"There is huge potential for this post to support local volunteers, groups and those running existing facilities to develop opportunities for local young people.
"The success of the day was largely down to the support from King Arthur's School, a key partner in this project."
Among those present at the event was Steve Barnes, play and youth facilities officer at the district council, Wincanton town clerk Sam Atherton and Sue Place, manager at The Balsam Centre.
In September last year, Anna Groskop, Somerset county councillor for Wincanton and Bruton, warned that youngsters were experiencing increasing levels of "boredom". She said: "Teenagers in Wincanton often get bad press and I think it's partly because they have nothing to do. Our young people are bored.
"People say that young people are destroying things like the play area at Rickhayes. However, they just need something to do.
"Not all young people are bad. It's a minority that are causing trouble, but unfortunately the majority are being painted with the same brush as the troublemakers."
In the Wincanton People's Plan, released in 2006, students who were surveyed called for a new cinema, a skatepark with a shelter, more clubs for young people and a fast-food outlet.