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Report suggests improvements for youth facilities

A raft of new ideas to improve leisure and social facilities for young people in the Island has been made public.

Nineteen recommendations to expand choice for youngsters between the ages of 14 and 23 are contained in a Council of Ministers report.

They range from finding more venues for young musicians, to developing a bigger network of mountain bike trails.

The report urges government departments, local authorities and private and voluntary groups to work together, to make the most of facilities the Island already has.

Almost two years ago a Chief Minister's Working Group was tasked with finding out what informal social facilities young people would really like. The Council of Ministers has now agreed to pursue a series of suggestions.

Expensive new projects are not on the agenda. Instead the theme is a 'can do' approach - using existing facilities, such as schools sports halls and pitches to greater effect.

One idea is to establish annual regional days for sports, arts, music and dance. Another, to open youth cafes outside Douglas. There's also an imaginative proposal to allow young motorcyclists and drivers to practice on dedicated areas of tarmac, under supervision.

Some ideas are simple and would cost nothing - such as asking local authorities to review bans on ball games on open ground.

The recommendations will be considered by various government departments who'll report back in the coming months.

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