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Huge task to support young people, says councillor

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Huge task to support young people, says councillor

THE largest ever study of young people’s views in Dumfries and Galloway highlights the “sheer scale” of work that needs to be done locally, an Annan councillor argued this week.

Annandale South Councillor George Jamieson was impressed by the huge amount of data gathered in the 2023 “10,000 Voices” research document, but insisted that its findings demonstrate that much work needs to be done to give young people a better future.

The large scale piece of research recorded the opinions of 10,828 young people aged 10-25 in the area, which accounted for half of the population in this age range.

Youngsters gave ratings for how they felt in relation to safety, transport, and issues and opportunities for them in their community.

The top five issues overall emerged as smoking/vaping, followed by diet/body image, mental health was third, bullying was fourth, and the fifth issue was money/budgeting/cost of living.

Commenting on the report at Tuesday’s full council meeting, Mr Jamieson highlighted significant levels of bullying reported in the 10-12 age group.

He continued: “The most shocking thing, apart from bullying levels at 10-12 year olds, is that between the ages of 18 and 25 mental health 48.5 percent feel that is their number one priority.

“My plea is that all services take real cognisance of this and actually put actions into place.

“I know from education and learning (department) there is work going on, and it’s the same in social services. But this just emphasises the sheer scale of the problems that are ahead of us.

“I just want everybody to realise how impressive this report is, but also how significant it should be to all the actions we’re taking forward.

“It’s about getting it right for every child.”

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