HAVE YOUR SAY Young people are being asked to share their views on how they spend their leisure time and talk about the impact of COVID-19. A new survey, run by East Cambridgeshire District Council, is seeking the opinions of young people in East Cambridgeshire to hear of their experiences and opinions of what life is like for them. It also wants to understand their needs, aspirations and desires as well as any issues that they face. Councillor Julia Huffer, chair of the operational services committee at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We want to find out more about how young people are spending their leisure time and where they meet their friends. We are also asking questions about the facilities they currently use and what stops them, if anything, from doing what they enjoy. Restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have meant the last two years have been tough on young people. Many have had to change the way they socialise or have stopped using, or had to cut down on, the number of clubs and leisure facilities they enjoy. Taking this into account, we want to find out if the way young people spend their free time has changed because of COVID-19 and, if so, how.”
The findings will be considered by the council and its partner organisations when striving to meet the needs of the district’s 22,000 young people in the future. Following feedback from last year’s survey, a Youth Action Plan was developed by East Cambridgeshire District Council. As part of that plan, Stephanie Jones and Sarah Burton have been appointed as dedicated Youth Officer Champions to help voice the needs of young people. The council is also working in partnership with the Youth Advisory Board for Fenland and East Cambridgeshire to update its website so that it clearly signposts and raises awareness of youth services.
Councillor Lis Every, who is a strong supporter of the council’s new Youth Action Plan, and Chair of East Cambridgeshire's Community Safety Partnership (CSP), said: “I would strongly encourage as many young people as possible to take part in the survey. This is a chance for them to have their say and to be listened to.
“Feedback will help us understand what is important for young people today and will help us to work more closely with them, and with partner agencies, such as parish councils and community groups, to address their needs. The CSP is currently looking into how we can provide further resources to support youth provision in the area and the views of young people are a vital part of that process.”
Anyone aged five to 18 can take part in the survey, which can be accessed on the Council's website.
Hard copies of the survey can also be collected from the East Cambridgeshire District Council office and Centre E in Ely, The Ellesmere Centre in Woodditton, The Arkenstall Village Centre in Haddenham and Littleport Leisure Centre. They can also be requested by contacting 01353 665555 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The survey runs until 20 December 2021.