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Youth czar bridges gap

PUBLISHED: 16:45 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 August 2010

YOUNGSTERS will have more say in shaping the future of the borough following the creation of a new cabinet position. Laura Hryniewicz, who teaches English at MidKent College, is set to take on the new role of lead member for Young Gravesham on March 3.

YOUNGSTERS will have more say in shaping the future of the borough following the creation of a new cabinet position.

Laura Hryniewicz, who teaches English at MidKent College, is set to take on the new role of lead member for Young Gravesham on March 3.

Her appointment was unveiled by Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling last Friday.

Ms Hryniewicz will direct a host of plans, including the formation of a new youth council, the introduction of more multi-use games areas around the borough and a council Facebook page giving young people the chance to discuss and influence issues that affect them.

Council bosses hope Ms Hryniewicz, 29, will be able to form closer ties with the young people of Gravesham, offering a more suitable representative for their voice on cabinet issues.

She said: "What this position will do is provide a concentrated focus on all matters in regards to young people. I've previously worked with young people with learning disabilities so I am really pleased to take this on.

"We want to try and bridge the gulf between young people and councillors - there's a reservoir of untapped potential and fresh ideas."

Both Ms Hryniewicz and Mr Snelling played up the importance of "getting with the times" in terms of improving the council's IT and media offerings aimed at youngsters.

They also spoke of their desire to follow the lead of the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford by improving the facilities in Woodlands Park, Wrotham Road.

Mr Snelling said Ms Hryniewicz will be fulfilling a "vital role" and mentioned recent successes, including the Gifted Young Gravesham gala show, the under-16s SNAP disco and the launch of the new cinema at Woodville Halls.

He said: "I felt we needed to address youth issues in the borough. It was an area we hadn't been able to get in touch with as much I would've liked."

Mr Snelling believes an improved relationship with young people could benefit one of the borough's most hotly contested issues - the Heritage Quarter development.

He added: "Regeneration is the biggest task - our top priority - and regeneration is as much about the people who will inherit it as it is about the wishes of those whose legacy it will be.

"I think getting the views of young people on the Heritage Quarter could be extremely valuable."

j.shackley@archant.co.uk

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