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Brathay Trust, the national charity that inspires young people to become successful, confident and responsible citizens, is helping members of the Eden Youth Council to communicate its key messages to young people in the Eden district of Cumbria.
A group of up to 10 Eden Youth Councillors, under the tutelage of Brathay’s Participation team, are taking over part of the popular Soup Shop, located in the Devonshire Arcade in Penrith, on Saturday 10 March, from 12-3pm, in the hope that they can communicate with young visitors to the shop and Mall.
Facilitators, from the Trust, have helped the group to secure the prime, town centre, retail location so that they can engage with young people in a shop-front environment.
The young group, aged between 13-16 years of age, will display their recent findings from a questionnaire that they distributed to all Secondary Schools and Youth Groups in the Eden area.
The results show the opinions of young people on a number of subjects including: the environment, public transport, drugs and alcohol, school activities, the representation of young people in the media and in the community, how young peoples’ views are listened to by adults and where they will live when they are older.
Jacqui Wallace, Senior Youth Worker from Brathay Trust said: “It’s vital that young people get an understanding of the democratic process and learn how they can get their voices heard and this project does just that. Hopefully the group’s presence in the Soup Shop will attract plenty of passing trade and encourage more young people to find out about or get involved in the Youth Council.”
A comments board will also enable young visitors to let the group know their feelings on local issues that affect them.
Currently the core group of around 10, which includes young people from Penrith, Kirkby Stephen, Glassonby, Croglin and Appleby in Westmorland, meet fortnightly in Penrith Library and several other locations around Eden, in the hope that their work will eventually influence the decisions of both the Local Council and the County Council in order to make Eden a better place for young people to live.
In order to attract as many young people into the shop as possible, Eden Youth Council will even be providing a selection of home-made cakes and biscuits to tempt people in. A small donation for these is welcome, with all profits going to a chosen local charity.
The passion and commitment to make a positive contribution to their community is evident from the group’s efforts to date. Bethany Robinson, a member of the Eden Youth Council said: “I never really feel like my opinion is worth anything, and I want more than anything to make a positive difference to the world…starting with where I live now.”
The Cumbria Youth Council programme has been put together in partnership with Cumbria County Council and Brathay Trust.