ANDOVER YOUTH COUNCIL – LAUNCH AND FIRST MEETING
21 NOVEMBER 2013 – UPPER GUILDHALL, ANDOVER
To say that Thursday night’s first meeting of the Andover Youth Council was promising would be an understatement. With a room full of Press, Councillors, proud Mothers and enthusiastic young people; the entire first floor of the Guild Hall buzzed with an excited, electrifying energy that was nothing less than contagious.
Overseen by Councillor McBride; despite the cold winds and rapidly frosting grass outside, spirits were high and welcomes warm as the all new faces of the Andover Youth Council were introduced to the town and declared their acceptance of their posts - each prepared to voice the opinions of their peers and listen to the needs of the masses; taking action for the good of the town and exceeding expectation.
In the quickest of council meetings I ever have seen, each Youth Councillor was accepted, seated and united; preceding the Election of Chairman for 2013/14 - an event which the previous Chairman, Jess Elliot, travelled all the way from Bath (where she studies at University) specifically to attend - and proceeding pictures, interviews and interesting conversation concerning the future of the AYC and its relationship to young people in the town.
The new Youth Councillors stand as follows: Jordan Simcox, Georgina McShane, Jacob Hughes, Keagan Walsh, Emily Fraser and - finally - Theo Youds. Undoubtedly the most passionate, compassionate and out-spoken group of 14 - 17 year olds I’ve had the fortune to interact with; when asking Georgina and Theo for their thoughts on the future of the AYC, they spoke eruditely about using social media to gather mass opinions & keep the public abreast of progress, as well as working together to improve high street facilities for Andover’s youth.
Georgina, particularly concerned with creating and maintaining a central Youth Club in the town - rather than several fragmented activity centres based on the differing housing estates - demonstrated her enthusiasm for giving the young people of Andover a regularly, readily available, safe place to socialise and exercise their creativity, keeping them off of the streets and out of the cold; recognising the knock-on affect this will surely have with any and all other demographics in the town.
Theo, one of the youngest of the new Youth Councillors, was notably exuberant regarding the idea of “gaming nights”; a chance for young people to gather in one space with the pre-determined purpose of interacting through PC and video games: “That”, he said, “would be awesome!”.
With a starter budget of £1000 and the continued support of Andover Town Council - ever present in AYC meetings will be Councillor McBride and Councillor Fitchet - this incarnation of Andover Youth Council has already built firm foundations in the town and set long term, achievable - but realistic - goals that I have no question they will work hard to complete.
Not only are this group of young people passionate, compassionate, out-spoken, erudite and enthusiastic, but they’re also proactive, serious and unwaveringly head-strong; aware that they are working - not only for those in their age bracket - but for the collective good of the entire town.
All people of Andover - no matter where or how old you may be - pay attention! You’re town is in the safest of hands.
(C) Sophie Porter, 2013.
Next meeting of the AYC:
Sophie J. Porter
Alumni Royal Central School of Speech and Drama