A COMMUNITY conference to plan a brighter future for young people in Wear Valley will be held this weekend.

About 200 people are expected to turn out for the conference at Bishop Auckland College on Saturday.

It is the second time an event of this kind has taken place in the area after last year's launch of Wear Valley's Strategic Partnership.

Last year, the conference looked at the partnership and how it could take the Wear Valley area forward to a more positive future.

This year's event will look at encouraging communities to work more closely with young people.

One of the objectives will be to form a children and young persons' action group.

The Wear Valley Community Network, which is organising the event, said that this year's conference looked to be bigger and better than last year's, with more people taking a greater interest in their community.

Michele Armstrong, chief officer for volunteer organisation 2D, which is one of the organisers, said: "We are delighted by the response to this conference. Last year's was good and we had a lot of people turn up, but the whole aspect of being able to express views and talk about issues has really hit home this year.

"The amount of young people who have put their names forward for this has been fantastic.''

Two teenagers from Bishop Auckland College will be compering the event and young people from around the area will perform pieces of drama and talk about what facilities they want to see in Wear Valley.

There will also be workshops focusing on current and proposed initiatives led by member organisations who directly serve young people.

Guest speaker will be Tony Halliwell, rural youth network facilitator for the North East.

David Craggs, Wear Valley Community Network Co-ordinator said: "Children and young people are the future of Wear Valley and it is important that individuals and communities take this opportunity of ensuring that their well-being is a high priority for those who are responsible for delivering services.''