Are you tired of the negative portrayal of young people in the media today?

Not a week seems to pass without reference to acts of mindless assault, damage, or other criminal activity across Taunton Deane.

The news is full of accounts of young people who have a mind to make the community unsafe, or who wish to falsely elevate their perceived selfworth.

However, we are referring to just a small minority of disaffected youngsters who, by their actions, create in the public a caution, if not fear, of groups of youngsters.

To overcome this, we have to address the needs and desires of young people by encouraging them to put their energy into recognised and freely controlled organisations such as youth clubs, sports centres, or one of the uniformed cadet movements.

I have visited many youth projects and organisations which are helping to reduce anti-social behaviour, and joining me has been one of our local Conservative team, Michael Pether.

Michael Pether is the Conservative candidate for the Taunton Fairwater division in the County Council elections in June.

Both Michael Pether and I want to ensure all of our local youth activities are readily accessible to those who show an interest through links on the County Council's website.

Now retired after 40 years' Army service, Michael Pether has joined the Somerset Army Cadet Force as an adult leader, where his experiences are being put to good use.

He was also co-ordinator of the annual Ten Tors Expedition for more than 15 years, so he is familiar with the need for youngsters to experience for themselves a sense of adventure within a controlled environment.

He is also helping the local police by giving a series of talks to officers and PCSOs on the need for them to foster closer liaison with youth organisations and to promote informal exchange visits.

In this way, we can help encourage greater, mutual respect and cooperation between the ages.

As with all these activities, they rely very much upon those adults from within the community who have the inclination and some spare time to assist on a voluntary basis, so if you can help, please contact myself or Michael Pether by calling 01823 286106 or visiting: