CHILDREN and young people in Worcestershire can look forward to a brighter future thanks to a project which is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
Worcestershire Next Generation, a project set up by leaders from local businesses, voluntary, community and public sector organisations, aims to secure the county’s future prosperity, community and environment by 2040.
Although the county currently has high levels of employment, economic growth and life expectancies, the project recognises that Worcestershire will not stay so prosperous unless action is taken now.
Next Generation is looking to other community leaders to work together to deliver the project’s 25 commitments, aimed at preserving the quality of life to 2040 and beyond.
With local planning typically based on five-year cycles, it is this long-term vision that makes Worcestershire Next Generation a ground-breaking project.
The aim is to use the experience of thriving businesses to attract more businesses to the county, securing its future prosperity and offering skilled work to future generations.
Project leaders have engaged with young people, including discussions with the Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, while Worcestershire’s Takeover Day in November saw young people take over the county’s top jobs for a day and provide input to how they saw the vision of the Next Generation.
Craig Bateman, aged 16, a member of the Worcestershire Youth Cabinet, said: “What makes Worcestershire different is that it has a lot of potential.
"I know this from my experience with Worcestershire Youth Cabinet since my election in March 2013.
“I also know that Worcestershire is full of people, from a whole range of backgrounds, fields and industries who are deeply passionate about where they live and want to create a sustainable future that is rewarding both for them and their families.”
Councillor Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council, added: “What was clear from young people was that our economy, well-being and natural environment cannot be viewed independently but rather as part of a whole contributing to a good quality of life.
"They reflect the view of all age groups in valuing a sense of belonging to the area across our mix of rural areas, villages and town and across different groups too.”
Worcestershire Next Generation is now looking to other community leaders for help.
For more information, log on to wearethenextgeneration.co.uk or search for ‘Worcestershire Next Generation’ on Facebook and Twitter.