Groups ranged from primary school pupils through secondary to groups of carers and volunteers. In total there were nine presentations on different subjects. In the audience were Cornwall Councillors (although not as many as I would have hoped), and representatives from organisations that work with young people.
Perhaps the stand out presentation was from young carers. There were some very moving life stories told and it really rammed home just how much some people have to fit into their lives, combining caring responsibilities with school and social life. It's difficult enough when you are a parent, but must be very tough indeed when you are a 12 year old caring for a parent with dementia and alcohol problems.
One of the groups that came along were the school council from Launceston College. After the event I had a great session with them asking what changes they wanted to see in our town. The top three issues that they mentioned were:
- transport - trying to get into town to take part in activities or to see friends and back home again
- things to do - the skatepark is great for those who skate but people wanted more activities
- more shops - we talked about the empty shops and what stores they would like to see come to town
I've promised to do what I can on each of these issues and, of course, with Sasha and Adam I will happily work on any issues where people want to see action.
Today's event would not have been possible without the assistance of Council Chairman Pat Harvey. She hosted the event and provided lunch for the participants - something she does for tens of meetings and events each year. Pat also represents the civic face of the Council, at hundreds of events each year. In straightened financial times we all have to look to make savings and the Chairman's expenditure is not exempt from this. But I think it is wrong to suggest, as Andrew Wallis has done, that the Chairman's office and role is a waste of money.