A YOUTH conference has offered the opportunity for students to explore the theme of ‘Keeping Safe during COVID’.

Eastleigh Borough Council funded the eleventh annual Youth Conference that was run virtually for the first time because of coronavirus current restrictions.

The event took place on November 11, and brought together college and school pupils to discuss the chosen theme, covering subjects such as mental health, online safety, relationships and drugs in workshops.

Over 100 pupils and professionals were represented from all schools, colleges and youth agencies operating in the borough.

Organiser, Stacey Miller said the event was important to prioritise about ‘taboo subjects like mental health and to keep young people safe’.

Lorraine Barkshire, deputy designated safeguarding lead and head of year at The Hamble School, said: “I have been attending the Youth Conference for a few years now, I love it, the students love it and we learn so much.

“I use the information and strategies I learn for my safeguarding role as well as my every day teaching role in school.”

The conference received support from local organisations including Groundwork Solent, Solent Youth Action, No Limits, Yellow Door and Hampshire Isle of Wight Youth Commission.

The council’s cabinet member for health, councillor Tonia Craig, said: “We are committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of young people is supported in the borough.

“An open and safe forum for young people to discuss and explore themes relevant to them is vital to ensure education and support is provided.”