Dame Julia praises school after visit to talk to young people about their hopes for Blackpool’s future

Dame Julia Cleverdon, right, Westminster Academy pupils Jessica Hillier, nine, Imogen Whitworth-Morrell, 10 and Kaiden Conner Walsh, also nine
Dame Julia Cleverdon, right, Westminster Academy pupils Jessica Hillier, nine, Imogen Whitworth-Morrell, 10 and Kaiden Conner Walsh, also nine
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Young people spoke of their hopes for the future during a talk with Dame Julia Cleverdon at a North Shore school.

Dame Julia, 68, visited Westminster Primary Academy for “a conversation about what it is like growing up in Blackpool, their opportunities, and their aspirations”, headteacher Roger 
Farley said.

He added: “Children and young people from Westminster, Blackpool Sixth Form College, and the Blackpool FC Community Trust attended and gave their views, hopes for the future, and told how they engaged with the local community.”

Dame Julia (inset), who is chair of the Claremont Steering Committee, part of the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, and co-founded social movement #iwill, heard how young people get involved in the community.

She said: “If you want young people to care about others, you have to get them thinking about this stuff early on. Westminster is such an excellent environment. They have challenges but they do a fantastic job of getting young people involved in the community.”

During her visit on Monday, she heard how youngsters have reading buddies, sing in a junior choir for the elderly, tell jokes to cheer up their friends, and become anti-bullying ambassadors.

They described their biggest current issues as transport, mental health, and employability.