Andover Youth Council Meeting Report

Tuesday 3rd December 2013 saw the second meeting of the Andover Youth Council - overseen by Councillor McBride & Councillor Fitchet. [Read more...]

Tuesday 3rd December 2013 saw the second meeting of the Andover Youth Council – overseen by Councillor McBride & Councillor Fitchet.

Writer Sophie Porter was there and reported on the event.

Andover Youth Council Meeting Report

The second Youth Council meeting took place on 3rd December 2013, in the peaceful rooms of the Andover Town Council Offices. It was a compact meeting of minds; brief, energetic and full of ideas aplenty.

Overseen, as ever, by the committed and determined Councillor McBride & Councillor Fitchet – supported by a handful of other, invaluable Councillors – the meeting covered so many areas and pending projects, it was sometimes difficult to keep up!

Keen to give the Youth Councillors independence and responsibility as soon as possible, the Town Councillors plan to oversee (guiding but never controlling) the first three meetings of the AYC whilst they find their political ‘feet’; giving them the best start on their journey to improving the town for the good of all. After this, unless urgently needed, the Town Councillors intend to leave the AYC – with access to the Council Offices – to hold their own meetings, as is appropriate.

Further to Town Council Secretary SJ Partner’s popular suggestion, the Town Councillors hope to support the Youth Councillors with Mentors – older and more experienced Councillors – who the AYC can turn to in times of doubt or confusion; keeping proceedings clear, simple and productive.

Within this, Andover Town Council hope to award each Youth Councillor, at the end of their time in ‘office’ with a certificate detailing their achievements in contributing to local politics and helping improve the fabric of the town.

Social media was a subject given particular attention at this meeting; naturally a primary topic in the age of mobile technology. Currently, Councillor McBride & Councillor Fitchet run the Andover Youth Council Facebook page in order to promote the AYC and keep the public informed of upcoming events. However, with new Youth Councillors and new responsibilities come new methods and, from now on, the Youth Councillors themselves will be confidently, regularly updating the Facebook page with news, events and general encouragement for all the town to see.

Somewhat related to the previous point, it should be noted that very soon each Youth Councillor will be allocated their own Andover Town Council email address. This in order that the Youth Councillors are easily contacted by any young people in Andover who need to talk, wish to express concerns or have their ideas heard.

One of many interesting and exciting discussions on the meeting agenda was the suggestion of creating an ‘introductory video’ of the AYC for social media, YouTube and the Town Council website. With the assistance of some willing volunteers, the Youth Council plan to create this video – introducing themselves, their ideas and their desires for the town – in January; a new year and a new approach, indeed!

Finally, and most importantly, the Youth Councillors have been given their very first task! Back in July, Andover Town Council ran a ‘Pizzathon’ in the Guildhall; a short, afternoon event run to encourage the young people of Andover to engage with local politics – asking them what they would enjoy in, and what they think would improve, Andover and the surrounding areas. The event was a success, the outcome being a vivid, interactive list of events and initiatives that, for the most part, were realistically achievable. Some ideas include:

  • Summer Festivals
  • Skate Park
  • Gaming Marathons
  • Indoor Hangout Area

The AYCs first task will involve going back to this coherent list and asking the young people of the town – through word of mouth, social media, schools and questionnaires – whether they still want any of the ideas brought up at the ‘Pizzathon’, why, and whether there’s anything new they think would contribute to improving the fabric of the town.

Whilst the new AYC has only just begun, still finding its way in the town, and the planning phase is only just underway; the issues, solutions and ideas discussed on 3rd December 2013 mark a new era in the way young people of Andover are treated and the wider affect that has on the town. Treated as responsible young adults who can make a difference, the AYC has big plans; the ATC are behind them, 100%, to make sure these plans become a reality.

(C) Sophie Porter, 2013.

Bridge Street Andover
Bridge Street, Andover – Image courtesy of Andover Town Council