Robyn receives recognition

A TEENAGER, who was instrumental in setting up Budleigh Salterton s youth club, has had her efforts recognised by the county council.

A TEENAGER, who was instrumental in setting up Budleigh Salterton's youth club, has had her efforts recognised by the county council.

In 2007 13-year-old Robyn Whittaker, now 16, joined forces with twin sisters Claire and Rachael Haestier and took positive steps to prevent vandalism and crime being carried out in the town by bored youths.

The trio teamed up with then neighbourhood beat manager PC Kim Chapman and appealed to the town to help them start a youth club.

Last week, Robyn's success in bringing a youth club to the town - after years of tireless campaigning and fundraising - was honoured at a special award ceremony held by Devon County Council.

The teenager was plucked from hundreds of youngsters nominated for an award and was chosen as a finalist in the safer communities category.

Former Budleigh beat manager PC Chapman said it was down to the determination of Robyn and the Haestier twins that the town now had its community youth project and up-and-running youth club at the Venture Hall.

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He said: "It's well-deserved. Robyn, Claire and Rachael all deserve some recognition. They were there from the start. They have been absolute diamonds.

"They have brought youth issues to the forefront, where it was always buried in the background, and made people listen."

Finalists were selected by a panel of judges consisting of representatives from Devon's Children's Trust partnership and young people.

Mary Nisbett, chairman of Devon's Children's Trust Partnership, who sponsored the celebrations, said: "These annual awards are a wonderful way to recognise the efforts young people have made in their personal lives, their schools and clubs and their communities.

"Young people are often portrayed in a negative light, and the testimonies from the nominations show that so many of them have shown incredible strength, ambition, intelligence and selflessness in pursuing a goal or overcoming an obstacle."

Cllr Andrea Davis, cabinet member for children and young people's health and well-being, said: "It is really important that we recognise and honour children's achievements, and give them the rewards and incentives to aim high in all aspects of their lives.

"These finalists really deserve this accolade.