EACH week, the Advertiser will be asking each party a question on a pressing matter for Test Valley residents. This week, each party was asked to answer the following:

“How would you seek to engage more with young people in and around Andover and develop services for them?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Andover Independents

Young people are the future and their active engagement is crucial to the sustainability of all our futures. The Andover Independents Party is committed to meeting the needs of our youth and wants to:

  • Establish youth hubs in Andover town centre and other areas.
  • Fund youth workers for youth hubs and outreach.
  • Introduce free bus-passes for 16-24 students and job-seekers.
  • Increase school crossing safety and policing in unsafe areas.
  • Provide youth-specific recreational and leisure facilities.
  • Introduce interactive workshops between youth, public and community organisations.
  • Fund youth-led initiatives.
  • Create and promote volunteering opportunities.


Under our watch Hampshire’s Children’s Services department has been rated ‘outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted. Ninety-six percent of all our schools are also rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. That’s a better record than any other county. We’ll continue to prioritise school improvement so that every child in Hampshire gets the best start in life.

Alongside this, we’ll continue to fund places and transport to clubs and societies for our most vulnerable children. Working with Unity and the local member of the Youth Parliament, we’ll also host a Citizens’ Assembly to hear directly from young people and focus on their priorities.

Hampshire Independents

Council services should be focused on those in need over those in groups.

Young people need good opportunities to forge their own lives, that means being pro-business to help provide a wide range of jobs. Encouraging apprenticeships and vocational training is vital to for those that don’t wish to follow the academic route.

Young people need to feel there is a bright future for them, that does not mean life will be easy, but that there are possibilities. Housing is a key part of this, young people need places to live they can afford be the rented or bought.


Hampshire has seen devastating cuts to youth services since 2010. 35 youth centres have been closed across the county and Andover no longer has any statutory youth groups taking place. We think this is a disgrace.

Young people face huge challenges because of COVID-19 and we want to see youth provision reinstated in Andover. We will work to see youth workers employed again to support young people, a joined-up approach between the statutory and voluntary sector to address youth mental health issues and a drop-in space for young people to get support, advice and a safe place to be.

Liberal Democrats

Our youth are our future. Conservative councils have cut youth services across Hampshire. This removed a safe and secure environment for young people and also destroyed the major source of engagement between youth and the larger community.

We as adults need to stop guessing what the youth want and actually ask them. When we do, we will find that they want spaces to meet and socialise and enjoy their hobbies. Young people are also more driven by idealism ranging from a sustainable green environment to decent schools and sports facilities. The Liberal Democrats’ first step is to restore youth services.

Michael Mumford

As a former teacher of 35 years I’ve worked with students, who instinctively know if you’re genuinely sincere in trying to help them. This means you have to be around permanently to gain their trust and confidence. Listening and not imposing things on them is key.

More events just for young people are essential to my way of thinking.

Andover had a youth council started in 2013 by the town council a lot of hard work was put in to supporting it, if elected I would want to explore the idea of reviving it for them and indeed the town.

Reform UK

It’s little wonder the youth of Andover feel as disaffected as they do.

In retrospect, the beige asphalt of the Wilko walkway was the low hanging fruit with which they can demonstrate the cognitive dissonance caused by months of irrational lockdown.

What’s missing is a return to a traditional transcendent belief system.

In all things we must endeavour to grow the sense of responsibility that comes from this.

What passes for education has been inculcating young minds with strange and harmful outlooks. This has got to stop.

Good people should rise up to challenge this illegitimate status quo.

Stuart Waue

I would liaise with the local schools and existing youth groups in finding issues and solutions. One of the problems with youth engagement is that those in power often tell the young people what they want rather than actually asking them and listening.

A more diverse work experience scheme would enable young people to gain a range of valuable experiences in different industries. I would encourage more local businesses to become involved in work experience initiatives after school and at weekends. I would also like to see youth clubs make a comeback and would encourage a range of inter-school activities.


I don’t believe it would be far wrong of me in saying that most young people in Andover would have access to the internet via Smartphones, iPad or computers.

The way I would seek to engage more with young people would be to create posts on several of the various social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram etc. Using the feedback given by young people themselves Services could then be developed to meet their needs as they present them directly.

The Green Party did not respond, but will continue to be invited to participate