Gwen Hendry, founder of Dartmoor Young People for the Future, pictured on Mardon Down, near her home at Moretonhampstead.

Dartmoor group for young people launched

Ben Fox
Ben Fox
Gwen Hendry, founder of Dartmoor Young People for the Future, pictured on Mardon Down, near her home at Moretonhampstead. Copyright Chris Saville

A new group for young people of between 16 and 21 who live in or near Dartmoor is being launched with funding support from the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Coronavirus Community Support Grant (CCSG) Fund.

This group is called Dartmoor Young People for the Future (DYPF), and under current COVID-19 restrictions on meeting up, provides a safe meeting space on social media for Dartmoor’s young people to discuss issues that affect their lives and their vision for the future, both personally and wider.

Its founder, 17 year-old A-level student Gwen Hendy, told The Moorlander: “I want young people from around Dartmoor to get some support to speak up and take action about the times we live in, especially under these strange COVID limitations.

‘Even if there are events and projects around topics that interest us taking place locally, there’s a lack of engagement with my age group. I’d like to see us at these events as equals making our voices heard.

‘There’s so much more stuff we could set up, without relying on adults to do it for us or prompting us. This group, Dartmoor Young People for the Future, invites and encourages local young people to think about our future, to get organised about some of the issues that affect us and to help make some positive changes. DYPF can show that we do care and we are interested how these things affect our lives, as well as getting involved on a local level.”

DYPF originally planned to have some group meetings around east and south Dartmoor, where young people could discuss their futures, consider the opportunities and limitations of living around Dartmoor, and also get involved in shaping and planning the DYPF’s way forward. But with all the lockdowns and restrictions imposed because of COVID-19 transmission risks, the group has decided to move online, primarily onto Instagram where Gwen contributes her thoughts and invites other young people to join in.

As and when the lockdown is lifted, the group would like create some events for 2021 where Dartmoor’s 16-21 year olds can meet up and speak about what they want for their futures. Meanwhile young people are invited to go to the Instagram account: d_y_p_f (DYPF) where you can contribute your thoughts, feelings and ideas, then tell any other young people in and around Dartmoor who might be interested!

Gwen adds: “I want young people around here to be happier and to struggle less with their lives, to create projects and do stuff together that feels great, and to see real outcomes. Doing this would be really satisfying, and will also benefit the place where we live, so it’s win-win all round.”

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