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CEN Community Awards

Last night I had the honour of attending the Cambridge Evening News Community Awards at Homerton College with three year 9 students from Soham Village College.

Owen Drew, Ashley Blades and Ben Vinten reached the final of the young achievers award for 2009 and finished runners up.

They were nominated for setting up the group S.O.L - Speak Out Loud. This group was established when Owen and Ashley explained, during their social skills group, that they were angry about the area in which they live and that it made them feel undervalued. Their estate, Barleyfields, to the North of Soham was left unfinished when developers went into receivership, leaving playgrounds unadopted, roads and footpaths incomplete, litter and overgrown grass areas. The group went on to take over 1000 photos of their estate with family and friends. These photos were then made into a short film which the group presented to a number of key decision makers at Neighbourhood Panel meetings and Council Members inductions. This led to an environmental action day taking place and the Barleyfields estate being named as a priority panel area.

So far successes include housing rewriting section 106 planning conditions for new estates, applications by ECDC to adopt the playgrounds, hedges and grass areas being cut and funding has been found to complete the footpath that young people use to get to school.

Owen, Ashley and Ben thoroughly deserved their night out at Homerton (described by Ben as being like Hogwarts - it was in the Great Hall under candle light!), they behaved impeccably and were a real credit to both the school and their families.

I would like to thank you all for your support with this project over the last year, Owen now plans to look for opportunities to help other young people across Cambridgeshire to do the same thing… watch this space!

Article by Lisa Riddle - Locality Manager, Bottisham, Burwell & Soham  

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