Trio take on youth champion roles for Beccles

Caroline Topping, Sam Kenward and Andrea Downs are the new youth champions for Beccles. Picture: Nic

Caroline Topping, Sam Kenward and Andrea Downs are the new youth champions for Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A team of three town councillors have been chosen to represent youngsters in Beccles and provide a voice for them in the town.

Sam Kenward, who has been a Beccles youth champion for the past two years, is taking on the role again joined by Caroline Topping and Andrea Downes.

The idea is to provide a link between the town's young people and the council, and it was Mr Kenward who first put forward the idea forward in 2013 when the role began.

Mrs Topping was serving her first year as mayor at the time, and acted as youth champion for two years.

Mr Kenward, aged 20, then joined the council in 2015, and together with the now deputy mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, took over the role addressing some of the issues facing young people.

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One of their biggest projects last year was working with local residents to revamp Townlands Park, which had been in a state of disrepair for 10 years. They also held a hotseat event in February at the Sir John Leman High School, where pupils aged Year 4 and above were able to learn more about the different tiers of government and meet their local representatives.

Mr Kenward said: 'Young people are an important part of the town, and their views do mean a lot.

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'People think you become important at 18 because you can vote but we need to motivate them to have an impact before then.'

Mr Kenward said their ultimate goal is to set up a new youth club on the north side of Beccles, with most activities currently running in the south.

Ms Downes, who is acting as a youth champion for the first time, said: 'I've got a seven-year-old son and he's the reason I got involved with the council in the first place because I want him and his peers to have an interest in the town.

'I don't think a lot of people appreciate we've got a town council or what the Town Hall building is used for and I think we need to start educating them when they are younger so they have more of an interest.'

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