Youth Question Time hailed a success

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent hosted its second Youth Question Time this week.

Held in partnership with the Gwent Regional Youth Forum at University of South Wales’ Newport campus, it was attended by more than 100 young people from across the area.

The young people posed a series of personal, thought-provoking questions to a panel of key decision makers.

The panel featured the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman, Dr Liz Gregory (joint head of the child and family psychology service in Gwent), Dr Jane Dicken (consultant in sexual and reproductive healthcare) and Loren Henry (founder of youth project Urban Circle).

Jeff Cuthbert said: “I was overwhelmed by the number of young people from across Gwent who came together and the maturity of the questions asked. The ability to hear what is important is vital when making decisions about how we tackle issues such as mental health and knife crime, both of which are in the forefront of many young people’s thoughts.

“It was very interesting to hear the perspectives of my fellow panel members, as many issues such as mental health need to be dealt with via a partnership approach. I welcome opportunities such as this to enable public services to hear what is important to our future generations.”

Young people came from far and wide for the event, with Maindee, Duffryn and Melin Homes youth forums joining pupils from St Julian’s, St Josephs, Llanwern and Croesyceiliog secondary schools. Young people from all five council-led youth forums, the Aspire Project, Newport Mind and Gwent Police Cadets were also in attendance.

The attendees asked interesting questions that sparked informative discussions about a number of topics that are important to them. These included mental health, knife crime, availability of sex and relationship advice in schools, and cyber crime.

Deputy Chief Constable of Gwent Police Amanda Blakeman said: “I was delighted to see the lecture hall full and bursting with enthusiasm. So many pertinent questions on knife crime, domestic abuse, exploitation, sexual health, mental health services, sustainability and the gender pay gap. It was a pleasure to take part and listen to what is important to young people.”