Youth in Audlem

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Having recently had my A Level Results I am now thinking about the next stage of my life. As joining the Royal Navy is my favoured option, and there are few gunboats patrolling the Shropshire Union canal these days, a move from the village could well be coming soon — an ideal time to reflect on growing up in Audlem!

I have been through many experiences other younger people will have shared. Junior school at St James' in the village, joining the cubs, catching the bus to Brine Leas and then South Cheshire College for the past two years. I did join the Air Cadets in Whitchurch for 6 enjoyable years which has given me my interest in a military career.

Much of my experience of Audlem has been positive. It's a very friendly place which I found particularly when working at the newsagents and delivering newspapers. It's surrounded by great countryside, ideal for an outdoor life. Indeed I saw much of the countryside walking my dog Bobbie who, I regret to say, has just died. But Bobbie really enjoyed Audlem too.

The not so good side of life here when growing up is a distinct lack of things to do for teenagers. Yes, there is an active Youth Club and the football and tennis clubs are great, but we could do with a lot more. Getting to Nantwich or the other towns is a real problem before you have a car so we need village facilities.

I found out a lot more about this when I joined the Youth Working Group on the Parish Plan. We carried out surveys at the Junior school and Brine Leas, held focus discussions and much more. The really young wanted a swimming pool and a toyshop — worryingly one Junior School pupil wanted more pubs! The more senior youth wanted a skateboard park, more sport and a teen shelter where they could meet up.

What we did find is that a third of Audlem's population is under 19. So it's reasonable to direct a lot of resources to such a large proportion of people in the village. I hope the action plans we have laid out in the Parish Plan for the young are taken really seriously and many of them become reality.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy my post exam time, earn a little money in my job at Bridgemere and, most of all, prepare for my interview at Dartmouth.

If you would like to contact Matt Jones about this article, send a message to the webteam and we will gladly pass it on.

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