RESIDENTS in Johnstone are on a mission to improve their community after launching plans for a new youth forum.

The Spateston Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (TRA) hope to get more young people involved in taking care of their area following a recent spate of anti-social behaviour.

Committee members plan to create the youth forum to provide teenagers and children with the chance to discuss and share their views with local decision-makers.

Lewis Nesbitt, chair of the Spateston TRA, said the organisation wants to empower young people and instil pride in where they live.

He told The Gazette: “We want young people to be involved in our vision for the future of the community, given that it’s mainly their future being affected.

“Any children from Spateston who want to be involved will be able to take part, although older children would take the lead.

“They would be invited to committee meetings and meetings with councillors, so they’re aware of what’s going on in the community and able to shape it going forward.”

Mr Nesbitt hopes the continued easing of lockdown restrictions would bring the plans to fruition during the summer.

He said: “We’re looking to get local kids together around June and doing team building exercises with them, with some professional input, and then working from there to build an executive committee among the group.

“We believe, if they are part of the decision-making, then they are more likely to feel like part of the community.

“Also, a lot of the decisions we make affect young people, so it will allow us to be aware of what they need and want by getting their perspectives.”

The plans have been revealed after a number of residents raised concerns about anti-social behaviour by kids in Johnstone, with particular controversy surrounding a minority of youths who have been terrorising a disabled man in Spateston this month.

Mr Nesbitt said the TRA will implement “detached youth work” in the coming weeks to combat such behaviour.

He added: “This means that we, as adults, will experience the world from the perspective of young people in the area.

“We’re looking to get feedback and a better understanding about how young people are feeling right now, to allow us to build up our relationships with them as an organisation within the community.”