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Gloucestershire Business News

Young people urged to add their voice to Gloucester's future

More young people are being encouraged to consider joining the Gloucester City Centre Commission.

The City Centre Commission is chaired by the Dean of Gloucester Cathedral and administered by Gloucester City Council. It is made up of about 35 individuals and organisations with the ability to lead the innovation needed to re-purpose and revitalise Gloucester.

This Commission comprises local representatives from business, the environment, developers, community groups and statutory agencies.

Speaking on Punchline's Business Breakfast Briefers, the Very Reverend Andrew Zihni, the Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, said: "One of the things we have been talking about recently is about young people and how better to engage young people in the life of the city.

"There's a place for others to join. In particular, we would really welcome the voice of younger people so we are hoping that there will be some people from the University of Gloucestershire who might join us and that would be particularly important as the new campus comes into Kings Square shortly.

"That would be a really beneficial addition to the voice of what we do together to make Gloucester the greatest city in the United Kingdom."

At the commission's March meeting at the University of Gloucestershire's Oxstalls Business School, members heard that significant progress had been made to engage young people in the city, showing a video summarising the Youth Summit held in December. The city council is currently recruiting five 'peer leaders' to support the work and is strengthening connections with schools. It is also formalising work experience opportunities for young people.

Dr Matthew Andrews of the University of Gloucestershire led a discussion of what defines a successful University City and how Gloucester needs to change/improve to become seen as such.

Following group discussions, points raised included Gloucester nightclubs having an overall reputation for not being safe. The clubs themselves need to address this and offer more security and better promotion to try to change perceptions.

Sport is important to both universities, so there's a need to strengthen the connections between local sports clubs and the two universities.

Another suggestion was to encourage cafés in the city to incentivise daytime studying.

The city could organise more cultural events for students - such as Scarefest

There was also a need to communicate more effectively with students through better use of social media channels.

Other topics discussed by the meeting included reducing rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

There was also a presentation on strengthening safety in the city in which Lucy Willcox of Gloucester City Council presented an introduction to Commonplace - Gloucester Public Spaces Safety Map - which covers the whole of the city and enables members of the public to record on a map locations where they have not felt safe. It provides evidence to support interventions in those locations, including supporting applications for additional funding. Lucy intends to engage schools, groups and clubs better and will continue buying the programme during 2024/25.

Louisa Davies of Gloucester City Council reported on Together Gloucester and the recently announced three-year funding award from Arts Council England to transform culture within the city, working from the grassroots.

The programme is intended to make Gloucester a better place to live, work and visit, placing residents and communities at the heart of cultural provision. The programme includes commissioning funding for King's Square, intended to bring animation and events to the space, and the meeting considered ideas on how to achieve this, including Zumba and dance classes, chess competitions and busking.

Meanwhile, Neil Hopwood of Gloucester City Council presented the progress he has made to date on drafting the Gloucester Growth Plan, which follows research and discussions with many stakeholders in the city.

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