'Huge response' after Kenilworth mayor speaks out on youth drug and knife incidents in town

Cllr Mike Hitchins has been impressed by the response of people in Kenilworth
Cllr Mike Hitchins has been impressed by the response of people in Kenilworth

The mayor of Kenilworth has said there has been a huge response since he detailed problems with youths involving drugs and knives at a meeting last week.

Following his speech about the problems at the last Kenilworth Town Council meeting on Thursday September 13, Cllr Hitchins said he has spoken to people full of ideas of what they can do to help.

He said: “This whole thing has just exploded. We decided to spell out what we’d been doing at the council meeting.

“Since then, the phone has been red hot with people asking ‘what can we do to help?’

Cllr Hitchins, along with the Mayor's Consort Cathy McCarney who is also working on the project, hoped to hold two forums: a 'Young People's Forum' to speak to young people about their problems, and a 'Community Leaders Forum' to try and get organisations to coordinate better to help young people.

Although the details have not been confirmed yet, they expected the first Young People’s Forum to take place in mid to late October, and would likely be held in the Parochial Hall in High Street.

They are hoping to encourage around 50 to 60 young people to attend by offering free pizza and soft drinks.

Cllr Hitchins and Cathy want to hold the Community Leaders Forum at some point before the Young People's Forum.

The events would be paid for by money normally used for a civic reception.

Cathy, who often works with young people as a therapist, was confident the Young People's Forum would be useful.

She said: “It will give young people a voice to speak out. We can ask them what it is they would like in Kenilworth.

“But it’s not about us giving it to them, it’s about them working hard for it themselves.

“Mental health is a big thing as well. We need to talk about supporting young people here. It’s difficult because they’ve only got CAMHS (child and adolescent mental heath service) at the moment, and there’s such as long waiting list.”

And Cllr Hitchins said it was important to bring community leaders together so they could agree on a firm strategy to help young people.

He said: "Instead of just throwing ideas up in the air, let's bring it all together and decide how this is all going to work in the future. You've got people going off in different directions - some are good ideas, but we can actually do this better."