Youngsters in Horncastle can play a major role in making the town a brighter, better and safer place.
That was the message from the first ever meeting of Horncastle Youth Council last Thursday.
The youth council initiative has been driven by the town council.
Representatives from the four schools – Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar, Banovallum, Horncastle Community Primary and St Lawrence – attended the meeting at the Community Centre.
Pupils came up with a whole host of ideas on a range of issues including:
• the forthcoming VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations,
• highways /parking
• plans for a new £250,000 ’recreation park.’
The meeting was chaired by Mayor Coun Fiona Martin who described it as an ‘outstanding success.’
She said: “ As a council, we are keen to involve young people.
“We (adults) like to think we know what they (children) would like when clearly we often have no idea!
“This is their town – their future – and its only right they have a platform to help shape its future.”
The town council is already working with other organisations on plans for VE Day celebrations over the weekend of May 8-10.
The meeting heard suggestions for:
• a ‘victory garden’
• a display of ‘Morrison’ shelters
• a community tea party in the Market Place
• music from the 40s
• a £1 donation to dress in 40s costumes with money going to a cancer charity.
Victory gardens were a feature of towns during and after the war when there was a shortage of fruit and vegetables.
Setting up a victory garden this year would see the schools join forces and grow produce which could be used by individuals or organisations.
The idea was suggested by a QEGS pupil and Coun Martin was full of praise, saying the town council even owned a couple of potential sites.
A Community Primary School pupil thought a display of Morrison shelters at various locations would be popular.
She suggested the shelters could be decorated by local artists and children.
A community tea party was the idea of another QEGS pupil.
That would involve ‘closing off’ the entire Market Place with people invited to bring their own food and be entertained by ‘live ‘ 40s performers.
Coun Martin said: “The knowledge pupils had of what happened 75 years ago was amazing.
“Many of their suggestions were ‘outstanding’ – things we can take forward.
“I am not saying we will incorporate every single idea because there are all kinds of factors to consider but we have a lot to think about.”
Coun Martin said school representatives would be welcome at the next meeting of the VE Day committee.
Regarding last Thursday’s meeting, she added: “We didn’t quite know what to expect but it was marvellous to see so many young people speaking so positively and passionately about the town.”
The schools are already taking part in a project to ‘track down’ people who attended the VE Day celebrations in Horncastle with the idea of producing an exhibition.
The Horncastle History and Heritage Society is also involved, along with the Royal British Legion and the town council.
•It was decided to hold youth council meetings on a quarterly basis – with the next scheduled for April.