Straight Talking with Ian Mean

Our Great Young People

Posted in Uncategorized by ianmean on May 15, 2010

We must never give up on our young people. They really are our future and we must all recognize the fact that those good, honest, responsible young people far outnumber the minority of bad apples whose court appearances or anti-social exploits often make the pages of The Citizen.

Wherever possible, I try in The Citizen to use as many stories as possible involving young people—I like that title rather than youngsters—doing good things for their schools and their communities. We generally tag those stories: Responsible Young Citizens.

Last night, my wife Judy and I had the privilege, and I stress the privilege, to meet quite a few of those Responsible Young Citizens at a special awards ceremony The Citizen has promoted and developed at Gloucester City Council’s North Warehouse headquarters. It was quite a humbling occasion.

The background was that just under a year ago when the current, very energetic Mayor Chris Witts was talking to groups of young people, he became aware they were often critical of the bad press they received. I actually didn’t agree with Chris as far as The Citizen was concerned but I swallowed some pride and agreed that yes, often they did not receive the recognition they deserved, particularly in the national press where bad news about teenagers is often dominant.

My wife, Judy then came up with the idea that we should have an award for those young people in Gloucester—The Chris Witts Award for the Gloucester Young Person of the Year. That’s what happened last night at North Warehouse where, backed by the Tesco store at the Cattle Market (many thanks to Glynis Chambers the store’s community champion). Chris presented the first award which will then be carried on by other Mayors.

I go to a lot of these sort of events, particularly at the council headquarters. Some, frankly are rather formal. Last night was different. There were people there, especially families who had never been to a reception like that with all the civic silver laid out and being greeted as they came in by the Mayor and the city’s Sheriff and then signing the visitors’ book as they left.

Why was there such an atmosphere? The young people, of course. They looked so smart and they were so excited. I talked to one little lad who had received a commendation in the awards from Tesco and he said: ”It’s the best day of my life”. He was wearing a smart, cream suit and queuing up at the bar for a fruit cup wit his little girlfriend, who looked lovely.

One proud mum there was Yvonne Sadler, whose children—Shania,10 and Cody, 8 were nominated for looking after her when she became disabled from a fall. As Yvonne left, I said to her: “You must be proud of them”. She said: “I am proud of them every day of my life”. Great young people.

It also got me thinking. Most young people really are good but many of them often stand very little chance in their early life with a lack of parental guidance or support. Yes, bad parenting. Not so with these young people last night.

It was also heartening to see a group of Moslem women and their children at the event. So often at events like these our diverse community in the city is not properly represented. Great to have some lovely music from the young musicians at RibstonHallSchool which set the tone. I hope, that at the next awards, we can see many more schools entering their young students.

We will be featuring the winning young people in a special page in Monday’s Citizen and there will be more pictures in our Weekend section next Saturday.

All these young people last night were winners. Gloucester needs to be proud of them all—like their parents.

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One Response

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  1. Shaun Shute said, on May 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    As is the case with the national press i think we will have a rash of feel good stories for a while.


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