Another month, another action packed Andover Youth Council meeting at the Council offices, 29th April.
This Committee is one fit to burst with ideas, plans and positive energy; never, in all the time I’ve dedicated to the AYC, have I heard a negative word said or witnessed any sign of discordance. The Andover Youth Council are very much a team, working together for the good of the community and, I have no doubt, will remain as such for a long time, yet.
Whilst Town Councillor Geoff McBride attended this meeting in order to support the committee, the Youth Councillors were made responsible for organising, planning and running their own committee meetings; taking on the responsibilities that come with the post themselves, rather than relying on the Town Councillors to help them at every turn – showing a mutual respect and growth in confidence between the Town Councillors and the AYC,
Last month the AYC took a table at Andover’s Saturday market, planning to reach out to the wider community and gather together the hopes, ideas & calls for improvement of the town and all its young people. This initiative was an outstanding success, having engaged with many people – across all ages and backgrounds – across the day. The Youth Councillors will be meeting very soon to discuss and draw up an action plan to begin implementing the findings of this, the first of many public consultations; reminding us that the AYC are very much working specifically for what the youth of Andover want & need. Youth Councillor Keigan will be conducting another consultation at Rewired on Friday, 2nd May.
Notably, the professional and approachable Cllr Jan Lovell attended this AYC Meeting. A champion of young people, Cllr Lovell had a very interesting proposal for the AYC:
Following an inspirational conference brought by local head teachers several years ago, Cllr Lovell took the concept of “Rights, Respect, Responsibility”, then based solely within the school system, into the wider community, with a unanimously supported cross party motion to TVBC. Joining forces with an accomplished local journalist, a passionate & proactive Cllr Lovell founded a team of eloquent young people and gave them a platform – a regular page in the Andover Advertiser – with which to voice their thoughts, opinions and concerns with the town, reaching out to those of working age in order to promote rights, mutual respect & responsibility of all and bring the community together.
Unfortunately, despite enthusiasm and due to circumstances beyond Cllr Lovell’s control, this first incarnation faded away. With the AYC, Cllr Lovell has proposed to bring this initiative back; to revive publications and encourage stronger relationships between the youth & wider communities of Andover. This, of course, has gone through for consideration by the Youth Councillors and a decision has not yet been reached. However, as an outsider looking in, I do hope this is a proposal they wish to pursue!
The Andover Youth Council are looking for more members, too! If you’re between 14 & 17, live in Andover or the surrounding villages and wish to make a difference to the community, do not hesitate to get in touch. Join the AYC and you’ll be part of a vibrant and exciting team of intelligent and proactive young people, working towards the best possible future for the youth of today.
(C) Sophie Porter 2014