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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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A voice for the next generation

YOUNG people across Copeland already take part in a host of community activities, schemes and projects.

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THE FUTURE: Robin Whelan (left) and John MacLeod with Sophie Flynn (left) and Bethany Bowe at Inspira (formerly Connexions), one of the organisations we will be focusing on during the campaign

Clubs, groups, support services and organisations are on hand to help youngsters – but their work often goes unnoticed.

Over the coming months, we will be reporting the good work that is going on through the Copeland: The Next Generation campaign.

We will feature individual groups to find out what is available for the next generation.

Emma Dickinson, youth engagement officer for Copeland Council, says a variety of organisations provide a wide range of services and activities for young people and already regularly meet together.

“As well as youth provision, they do come together and talk to each other. They work as a partnership to ensure that services are provided for young people,” she said.

There are also smaller community groups and youth clubs that greatly affect the area they work in.

There is a view that young people often get a bad press.

Emma said: “There are young people that want to be involved in things. Young people themselves feel that it’s a minority that is giving everyone a bad name.

“In some shops, only one or two young people can go in at a time. The majority of young people are good kids, they want to help in the community and make a difference.”

Emma said she has been involved in setting up six youth forums around Copeland, where they have been discussing a variety of issues.

A Youth Council was formed last year where representatives of six youth forums from across the borough meet to discuss issues and put forward proposals.

Emma said: “I feel the Youth Council is great as there is a real mix of young people. We have got to look at all young people, normal teenagers who are facing all sorts of pressures and issues growing up.

“Young people do feel the generation gap and they don’t want it to be like that.”

She said youth groups across the borough have organised community events where young and old can meet together, take part in different activities and have fun.

Emma said: “Young people do face so many pressures nowadays, if I was a young person now, I think I would struggle too.”

She said issues surrounding careers and jobs are at the forefront of many young people’s minds. Information about jobs and apprenticeships need to be promoted to show what’s on offer in the borough and further afield.

A government report Positive for Youth was published in 2010. It highlights 40 aspects that need to be addressed. These include empowering young people, providing funding support for young people, targeting apprenticeships more on young adults and transforming vocational education.

Some of these issues are set to be looked at in upcoming editions of The Whitehaven News.

This campaign will include speaking to young people about their hopes and fears for the future and finding out what organisations they are involved in. It will also to highlight the issues that young people face in today’s society.

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