Young people in East Northamptonshire got together to talk about relationships at a council conference in Rushden this month.
East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) organises a Youth in East Northamptonshire (YEN) conference each year to bring together students from secondary schools across the district.
This year’s conference was all about healthy relationships, and saw 36 young people engaging in topics including discrimination, hate crime and domestic abuse/control.
The main task of the day involved group work to create a product to raise healthy relationship awareness in Northamptonshire and beyond. Groups had to consider design, marketing and finance and then present the product to their peers.
The winning idea was a mobile game where each level addresses a different abuse theme, such as psychological, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Players would learn about these and receive support information as they played.
ENC Chairman, Councillor Rupert Reichhold, who opened the conference, said:
“Relationships can play a major role in our lives, especially during teen years. Sometimes we meet people who may not have our best interests in mind. It is vital that young people learn to distinguish between a healthy relationship and a harmful one. I hope the YEN Conference helped the students learn about unhealthy components of relationships such as domestic abuse, controlling behaviour and incidents of hate. Hate crime is a criminal offence; moreover we should treat other people as we want to be treated, wherever we may be.”
Students also had the chance to find out more about and talk to ENC Councillors, Northamptonshire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Service Six, Voice (children and young people) and Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs.
The day went down well with the pupils, with some feedback stating ‘I feel I have taken a lot from the conference,’ ‘I enjoyed the fact it gives us life skills and will help us in the real world,’ and ‘it gave us a whole new perspective.’
Information about services for young people can be found on the YEN webpage.