Group out to change the perception of Milford Haven youngsters
8:30am Saturday 16th March 2013 in News
Keen to change the way young people are perceived in the town, a group of youngsters have joined together to tackle the problems facing Milford's youth.
The youngsters, aged 11 to 25, formed the Milford Haven Youth Council to give young people a voice in the community.
Member Keeley Hudd, aged 15, said: “The perception of young people is a big thing for us at the moment. Young people have a bad reputation; people think every young person on the street is littering, doing drugs, or drinking - which is holding them back.
“And we want to change that perception.”
She added: "It’s nice to be involved in something that’s actually going somewhere – and you can see the good that comes out of it.
“The youth council gives young people a chance to say what they think and a chance to make things happen because we are the ones setting the agenda for young people in Milford Haven.
“We want people to see that we are actually attempting to fix problems in the town, not create them." The group, which recently developed its constitution with help from Milford Haven Town Council, is currently working on a consultation to gauge the views of young people in the community before creating an action plan.
Last year, they also hosted a Question Time for local politicians and officials.
Keeley said: "We invited representatives from the Port Authority, the Mayor, and the youth service, to sit on the panel - and we got to ask the questions. Since then, my confidence has gone through the roof, and I have had the opportunity to do things that I wouldn't otherwise do."
Keeley is one of the Pembrokeshire representatives on Funky Dragon - the Children and Young People's Assembly for Wales, which meets four times a year to discuss environment, education and health issues affecting young people in the country.
Youth worker with Pembrokeshire Youth Nadine Farmer, who helps run the project, said: "Some of the things they do is very high profile, and it means that they're gaining skills that are transferable into life."
She added: "It also teaches them about their rights and responsibilities and allows them to feel empowered and have a bit of ownership in the area they live.
"The youth council is also about managing expectations because this is real life, and they’re not always going to get everything they want.
"I am sure that I am among budding politicians of the future."