Monday, May 31, 2010

Goole High School Question Time is a great success

Last week Goole High School played host to the Goole and Howdenshire Local Action Team (LAT) for a one hour ‘Question Time’ event, as part of the ‘One Goole’ week. The format was very similar to the BBC’s Question Time with a panel consisting of Susan Oliver (Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council), Chief Inspector Richard Kirven (Humberside Police), Alan Cunningham (Humberside Fire and Rescue), Alison Michalska (The ERYC Director of Children Family and Adult Services), myself at the LAT Chairman, and with Carolyn Burgess taking the David Dimbleby role as Chairman. The audience consisted of a very good representative cross section of Goole High School students.

It was clear from the off that the students had prepared well, apparently they had brainstormed issues and come up with a large number of very probing questions prior to the event. The questions ranged from youth provision to young people not being comfortable in reporting crime or anti-social adults, from young people hanging around outside Sainsburys to being able to use school playing fields after hours, from concessionary access to Goole Leisure Centre to the provision of sports facilities and equipment, and for young people to feel safe when in the park.

I have spent quite a lot of time talking with young people, and this was a great opportunity to again discuss their issues, but more importantly it was a fantastic chance for the other members of the panel to listen to the voices of Goole’s young people – and to learn about their issues first hand.

Many of the issues raised can be solved, it will take time and it will take some hard work by people and groups working together, barriers will have to be broken down, and people young and old must have a greater understanding of each others tolerances, prejudices and attitudes. The message I tried to put across was that young people must be part of the solution to issues that affect them, and collectively they can have a powerful voice.

The Question Time event is only the beginning, ultimately engaging and helping the young people from not only in Goole and Old Goole, but also Snaith, Howden and the rural villages, to feel valued as part of their communities, healthy and safe, and to reduce anti-social behaviour. To achieve this we must work closer with our secondary schools, and this event was an important part of that process. To continue this will be one of my priorities as LAT Chairman for the coming year.

Many thanks to the students and staff of Goole High School for making the event a great success.

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