Voice of youth

PUBLISHED: 12:04 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

Laura Mackie with councillors Sherma Batson and Bill Welch

Laura Mackie with councillors Sherma Batson and Bill Welch

Thomas Alleyne School student Laura Mackie was given the opportunity to interview Stevenage Borough Council member Bill Welch and Cllr Sherma Batson. Laura, 15, chose to speak about youth issues and what there is for young people in the town. This is her

Thomas Alleyne School student Laura Mackie was given the opportunity to interview Stevenage Borough Council member Bill Welch and Cllr Sherma Batson.

Laura, 15, chose to speak about youth issues and what there is for young people in the town.

This is her interview.

Q There are more 11 - 18-year-olds in Stevenage than ever. What is there for them to do around the town nowadays?

A Cllr Welch: "Stevenage has a multitude of things for people of this age group to do.

"There's the summer fest, the play schemes all year, street dance (Fusion for example), and much more.

"The two skate parks are open to people of all ages, being at Bowes Lyon and Pear Tree, both of which have recently been updated.

"There are also old family favourites like the Scouts and Guides, situated in the Barclay School."

Cllr Batson: "For young people of this age, there is also a brilliant media group on Hertford Road.

"This is all organised by young people, for young people.

"I think it's a really good idea, and I love the fact that teenagers are so interested in the media.

"We hear a lot that 11-18's think there's nothing for them to do in Stevenage, or we hear complaints about it, but simply contacting us is not enough.

"You have to be willing to get involved, to raise the funds, and to gain the experience.

"We always want suggestions to keep fresh, but we need the input of activity too."

Q Stevenage seems to have gained a negative reputation in the local areas, with many factors contributing. What do you say about this?

A Cllr Welch: "Safety is a big issue in Stevenage, as it is anywhere.

"The public opinion of Stevenage is often misled, in the fact that Stevenage is a very safe town according to the most recent crime statistics.

"The problem is that if something bad does happen, it tends to be publicised more so than the good.

"It makes better news. This gives different images to the ones we want for the town.

"We urge that if anyone has any concerns about Stevenage, to contact us. We have an excellent relationship with the police, but we rely on the people living and working here to tell us what's really happening.

"The Community Development Officers (CDOs) are always there to help, as is the StreetMeet - a bus that travels Stevenage with the CDOs, police, and council at regular places.

"The times for this are in the paper once a month. Where a crime is seen, report it. We can't deal with what we don't know about."

Although there was more discussed, these are the important points:

# Contact the council - they can change what you want changed

# Stevenage is a safe place to be in

# 11 to 18-year-olds have a lot to do, but if you feel something's missing, contact the council

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