Changes for Lichfield

Eight pupils from Chadsmead School enlivened this month's meeting when they gave us a very slick power point presentation setting out what they wanted to see happen in Lichfield over the next few years. In support, the audience ensured that a lively and erudite discussion took place, exploring the problems faced by the City, together with possible solutions.

The main part of the evening was taken up with the children's list of issues, ranging from the state of public toilets to the need for more and better shops to counter the diversion of trade to Tamworth. Each child presenter tackled a different topic in a very professional manner. Lichfield's alleyways were dirty, they said. Perhaps CCTV should be installed to deter litter louts and doggy deposits? What about doing something positive with the closed Kwiksave shop? A children's cinema was top of the bill. "We don't want to have to travel to Tamworth or Burton to see a film". And what about some more upmarket shops for the city, though perhaps not in the centre, which could be adversely affected? More flowerbeds were also supported. Members recalled the Civic Society's former bulb planting initiative.

The need for more Youth Clubs was high on the list. Perhaps that would stop some of the graffiti? What about a graffiti wall? Well, yes, but where would it be built? A long debate ensued.

There was a protracted discussion on the need to provide opportunities for young people to pursue a range of out of school activities such as volunteering, allotment gardening and getting involved with the creative arts. We pressed on to discuss the need for more litter bins, to fill in pot holes (surprise surprise!), to provide more cycle routes and to spruce up our public toilets.

The evening was most successful. The children were keen to share their concerns and members of the audience encouraged them to write to the Council and perhaps make their very professional presentation again to our councillors. The children's awareness of environmental and social issues at the young age of eleven was a credit to them and their school. Now comes the difficult bit of making things happen to change things for the best.

Roger Hockney
March 2010