TELL US YOUR VIEWS: Broadland youngsters reveal bullying fears

PUBLISHED: 06:30 02 August 2012

Broadland District Council's champion for young people, Ben McGilvray.

Broadland District Council's champion for young people, Ben McGilvray.

More than £45,000 is being made available to tackle problems affecting young people in Broadland – with youngsters themselves having a key voice in how the money should be spent.

Recent research among 11 to 16-year-olds in the area, asking them to identify the issues which concern them most, suggested that self-esteem, confidence and bullying – including cyber bullying – were among their key worries, higher than crime and anti-social behaviour.

The research will be presented to a special workshop being staged by the Broadland Youth Advisory Board later this month, at which new projects to address young people’s problems will be discussed.

YMCA youth worker Ewan Craig led the research at five workshops in Broadland which involved more than 100 young people.

He said: “We asked them to decide their own priorities and challenges in their day to day lives.

“Their emotional well-being came out as a clear concern for many, and because it’s come from young people about young people it’s important it’s taken seriously.”

The money available to the Youth Advisory Broad is £45,000, allocated by Norfolk County Council as a result of it restructuring its youth services.

Broadland District Council’s champion for young people Ben McGilvray said: “The findings provide a fascinating snapshot of the sort of worries that face young people in our area.

“It’s not scientific, but a good pointer to what’s on their mind, and together with evidence from other partner organisations gives us a real feel for what we can do to help.

“The important thing is we are listening directly to young people and taking their issues on board.”

The workshop on Monday, August 20 will focus on some of the main issues and topic areas, and kick-start the process of commissioning projects to address them.

The research was weighted so concerns which young people had first-hand knowledge of or experience were scored more highly.

It showed relationship issues, self confidence, bullying, peer pressure and self image were their most pressing worries, followed by exam pressure.

About three-quarters of those who took part live in Broadland’s rural market towns such as Reepham, Aylsham and Acle, with the remainder coming from suburban areas such as Thorpe St Andrew.

Any youth organisation that would like to give their views should contact Broadland’s children and young people policy officer Nancy Cordy on 01603 430457, or e-mail

The Youth Action Board is also seeking a representative from business and schools in the district to become members of the board.

• Are you a young person in Broadland? Tell us if you agree that bullying, self-esteem and confidence are big issues among you and your friends. Have your say in the comments below.

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