“IT feels like no-one down here knows or cares about us.”

Those were the words of a County Durham teenager protesting outside the Houses of Parliament over the lack of jobs, banks, supermarkets, healthy food outlets and opportunities in her hometown.

At 5am, on Wednesday (October 28), 42 young people and volunteers from Saint John’s Youthy in Shildon boarded a bus to London, armed with a 20ft banner and a letter to the Prime Minister.

At Parliament Square they unrolled the banner with the bold slogan “Shildon Matters – No banks, No Supermarkets, Poor Health, Few Jobs.”

The main reaction from passersby was “Just where is Shildon?”

“It feels like no-one down here knows or cares about us,” said Lexie Cleasby, 15. “With our main supermarket closing in November, we are a town that is being left behind.”

Funded by Bishop Auckland Area Action Partnership and organised by Naomi Tomlinson, the trip followed a debate by members of the St John’s Church youth club about the issues that mattered most.

The impending closure of Morrison’s supermarket, the closure of town’s last bank, HSBC, in October 2012, the high cost of public transport, high rates of teenage pregnancy and the lower than average life expectancy - coupled with the highest ratios of takeaways per head in County Durham- were all discussed.

While in London the children, also accompanied by Shildon councillor Trish Pemberton and Saint John’s Vicar Reverend David Tomlinson, were given a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

Here they met Bishop Auckland MP Helen Goodman who answered their questions and listened to their frustrations surrounding lack of opportunities and social isolation.

“Why it so expensive for young people in Shildon to travel on the bus?” asked Sharday Smith. “It is impossible to do things like go to the cinema. Why in a town with low car ownership isn’t more done?”

Mrs Goodman also received the children’s letter to David Cameron, which concludes with the sentence: “We are tired of a country that isn’t about us, its young people, we are attaching for you some stories of people in Shildon who our church has helped.

“This is real life, this is our life, why don’t you make things better?”

Mrs Goodman said: “I was very impressed by the young people. They have written a brilliant and well-researched letter and asked some very good questions.

“I know they are now trying to encourage more young people to vote which is so important.”