POOLE’S young people called for more positive representation in the media at a lively youth conference yesterday.

The perception of teenagers was just one of the topics discussed at the Voice It event at Poole Lighthouse.

Organised by the Poole Youth Forum, the day focused on a range of issues from politics to the media.

Dozens of teens also learned about the Youth Parliament and the upcoming elections in January and, with the help of a drama teacher, delved into issues of identity and sense of self.

Part of the crowd was 17-year-old Sophie Bradfield, who will be joining a historic young people’s debate in the House of Commons tomorrow.

Mayor of Poole, Cllr Charles Meachin, opened the Voice It event with a speech detailing the importance of young people to the town.

Daily Echo editor Neal Butterworth and Poole reporter James Morton took part in workshops allowing the teenagers to create their own front pages and dictate what current affairs would make their news agenda.

A more representative view of young people was pushed for, with youngsters being highlighted for their positive impact on society and not just for anti-social behaviour.

“The groups had strong views on how they were often depicted in the press,” said Mr Morton.

“It proved there are many young people keen to have a positive impact on the community.”

Daily Echo editor Neal Butterworth said: “It was a really useful and enjoyable event and I sincerely hope that we continue to forge a strong relationship with young people in the town.”

Peter Cooper, local co-ordinator for youth services, said the annual conference presented a forum for the teenagers to have a real chance to have their views heard.

He urged people to visit poole youthforum.co.uk and get involved.