Andover Youth Assembly gives young people the opportunity to discuss what matters most to them

A REPORT prepared by teenagers from across Andover will be shared with key decision-making organisations, to help represent the views of young people in the city.

The Andover Youth Assembly brought together around 20 young people aged 11 to 18 to discuss the issues that matter most to them – from their perspective on the town center masterplan to providing activities for their generation.

During three evening meetings, participants heard presentations from various organizations in the region and contributed ideas to be compiled into a final report.

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The idea originated in Beech Hurst and worked through a collaboration between Test Valley Borough Council, Andover Vision and Unity.

Young people were selected to form a ‘mini audience’, representative of Andover’s makeup in terms of gender, ethnicity, postcodes, etc.

Member of the Youth Parliament, Dmitrijs Meiksan, said: “It was such a positive thing, with all of them so involved and engaged. You can see that they want to be able to contribute to the local community

“The main [take away] was that key stakeholders are already doing the right things, but there needs to be more opportunities for young people to engage with them. Information from the community must filter through the schools.

TVBC Chief Cllr Phil North added: “Bravo to the Andover Youth Assembly – who have worked hard over the past three weeks to articulate what it means to be a young person living in Andover and what can be made to enhance this experience.

“Test Valley Borough Council has facilitated this in-depth deliberative approach – not only to hear the aspirations of young people from a wide range of backgrounds, but to understand their priorities.

“There’s been some really cool feedback like having access to a non-parental support person who could help advise young people if they get involved in something they don’t want to get involved in. Crucial for their mental well-being. As well as having access to more fun events and activities – even if they are not necessarily aimed exclusively at young people.

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He continued, “I took the opportunity to invite those who attended the next Andover Vision Stakeholder Group meeting where, alongside partners, we can begin to develop an action plan to improve the lives of young people living in Andover and surrounding areas.

“Thank you to organizations such as Unity Online, Yellow Brick Road Projects and Koala for their contribution.”

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