Richmond pupils challenged to visualise a better future for the town

Students from Richmond Methodist Primary School, Richmond School and Sixth Form College, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School, St Francis Xavier School and The Trinity Academy, along with Jos Huddleston Vocational Chair and Robert Hughes the President of The Rotary Club of Richmond.

Pupils from primary and secondary schools in Richmond have visualised how they believe their town can be improved in the future.

The Vision 2020 project, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Richmond and the town council, invited students to research and analysis the views of their community on how the town could be made better.

From these views, the pupils proposed improvements they would like to see in the town in the 2020s.

The project concluded in a packed Town Hall in Richmond.

The student groups, school staff, parents and councillors were welcomed by the mayor, Cllr Jonathan Preece.

The pupils revealed their ideas in displays and then each group had 15 minutes to present their proposals to the council.

The students, whose ages ranged from 6 to 17, presented a wide range of creative ideas.

These included the innovative enhancement of shared spaces, to benefit all parts of the community, and the extension and increase of the events and celebrations to add to the fun of living in the town.

Others suggested community action and campaigns to improve the tidiness of the shared areas, combined with suggestions for their improved upkeep.

There was a proposal for the creation of a ‘green town’ through the development of flower meadows, improved pathways to encourage people to walk into the centre, the adoption of a range of eco-friendly schemes to reduce the detrimental impact of plastics, and improve the conservation of resources.

In addition, there was a proposal for a shared relaxed social space for the youth of the town, linked to the Old Grammar School Project, and improvements to transport services to enable it to be available into the evening to young people from the villages.

In total this was a thoughtful, comprehensive and imaginative vision for Richmond’s future and the quality of life for all the community in the next decade.

Councillors from the town, the Richmondshire District and the North Yorkshire County responded positively to each presentation, commending the quality of the information researched, the imagination, of the students, and care taken to make their recommendations achievable.

Jos Huddleston, who led the programme for the Rotary Club, said: ” The creativity and vision of the students, combined with the courage and receptiveness of the councillors in welcoming their views was a very powerful democratic experience

“The success of the venture was also very much due to the encouragement and support of the schools and their staff.”

The students have invited councillors to visit each of the schools to respond in detail, to continue the discourse, and to share the journey needed to realise these visions.

These meetings are due to take place through the summer.

Robert Hughes, the President of the Rotary Club concluded the evening, thanking all involved, and  praising the students who he said had picked up the challenge to put forward their ideas on how to improve their town.