YOUNG people have gone online to encourage their peers to get involved in decision-making in their community.

Children and young people from the Sedgefield, Fishburn, the Trimdons, Bowburn, Kelloe and Coxhoe areas worked together to create a website to engage with peers and give them a voice on local issues.

East Durham Rural Corridor Area Action Partnership (AAP) put £5,365 from its 2015-16 area budget funding towards The Voices online project, which has been led by Investing in Children– an organisation that helps children and young people to exercise their rights and participate in decisions that affect them.

Members of the AAP's youth forum recently presented details of the initiative to council officers and told them how the website is informing youngsters about events and activities they can be involved in, and gives them an opportunity to have a say on local services.

Representatives from the forum gave an update on the site’s progress at the AAP board meeting and explained their plans to make the website more attractive and to increase the number of users. It is hoped that young people who take part feel more empowered with their community and increase skills and confidence to help them with further education or work.

Jane Bellis, AAP coordinator, said: “It was fabulous to have the young people at the board meeting.

“It’s important for us to involve residents of all ages in decisions about their area, and we’re looking forward to working with these young people on future projects.

“It’s fantastic to meet young people who are so passionate about where they live and the board was delighted to hear that the group is planning a series of litter picks in the area, working in partnership with local organisations to promote their work.”

Children and young people from the East Durham Rural Corridor area can visit the website at to view information and advice on a number of issues, access what’s on listings and take part in regular online discussions tgiving them a say about issues and events in the area.