Britain’s new MPs could pick up some good policies from our local Rainbows group. For their communication badges, each of the 5 to 7-year-old girls shared ideas for a better Shaftesbury. Suggestions ranged from reducing plastic to a radical relocation plan!
Lottie knows how to improve the quality of life in our town. “I would make Shaftesbury better by getting a bigger vet’s and making hospitals bigger, so people who are hurt can feel better ‘quicklier’,” she advised.
And Lottie would make sure that people clear up after their dogs. “Pick up dog poo because I have loads near my house that no one picks up. After the Rainbows I have to pick it up,” she said.
Tackling dog mess also topped Amelia’s manifesto. “Once, mummy went outside and someone had a dog and if mum did not go out there, they would have ‘leaved it’. She saw them and she made them pick it up,” said Amelia.
Daisy would fix a litter problem with a simple goal. “Less rubbish and plastic,” she said. And she knows where it’s an issue. “Normally out on the roundabout near Shaftesbury. I’ve seen some crisp packets, chocolate bar packets and a couple of plastic water bottles that are empty. I feel sad for the animals because they might eat it. Sometimes I go out and get bags. I do it with my mummy and my daddy because we have to cross the road and we go around the side of the roundabout and we pick up the rubbish,” Daisy said.
She has collected a lot of litter. “One time, over three roads in Shaftesbury, we had four bags filling up.” If you are thinking about dropping litter, Daisy would like you to reconsider your actions. “I have seen some people do it and they were teenage boys and I went up to them and I said, ‘Put it in the bin. There is a bin over there, and it is a recycling bin’.”
Daisy says that the lads did follow her instruction. “They laughed once they had did it because I was only six then,” she said, adding “It was my birthday yesterday.”
Maggie would also pick litter-picking as her top policy. “Pick up all the plastic,” she stated.
And little Esme offered a similar campaign target, designed to save wildlife. “Less plastic. Some animals can die from plastic. They might eat it and die from it,” she warned.
If Shaftesbury’s pets could vote, they would be likely to elect these young women, who seem to have the animal kingdom’s interests at heart. “I would like to make Shaftesbury better by having more animals,” exclaimed Georgie.
She knows which species she wants to see more of. “Rabbits. My favourite animals are rabbits,” she said, adding that she doesn’t actually have a rabbit but has a dog called Shadow. “He’s only four years old and he’s bigger than our last puppy because we had a puppy last year.”
Young Katie would like all people to be as kind to animals as she is to her hamster, Nugget. “He’s brown and white,” she beamed.
Another member of the Rainbows named Amelia also loves our furry friends. “I like it when there are lots of animals and they are all healthy. And they eat the right kind of food.” She says that she likes giraffes, but she’s never seen one in Shaftesbury. “I have seen one at Longleat and they eat leaves and they are all nice and juicy for them and they are healthy.”
Devon had a different policy idea. She said that she would start a home building programme. “I would put some more houses up.” And she says that she would build them, ‘in alleyways’. She has a reason for wanting more properties. “The homeless people don’t have any homes,” said Devon, adding that she sees homeless people when she goes into the town. “They haven’t got any food or shelter.” She says it makes a feel, ‘a bit disappointed and sad’.
Rosie, on the other hand, would hardly change anything about Shaftesbury. She says that she loves our town because of its green spaces. “There’s a park there,” she smiled. And she says she likes the equipment to play on, ‘because there are swings and slides’.
The most radical suggestion came from sun-loving Olivia. She’d improve the life of locals through mass emigration. “I would just move us to Tenerife and then all Tenerife people can move here.” She likes the climate in the Canaries. “It’s a lot more hotter, and it’s always hot there, even in the winter.” I asked whether she could speak Spanish. “A little bit,” she said.
Olivia has been to Tenerife before when, ‘I was in my mummy’s tummy’. And as well as the weather, Olivia offered another good reason to move Shaftesbury to the island. “There’s a kids’ club there.”
In twenty minutes, the girls offered more sense than you’ll find in hours of watching Parliamentary proceedings. If one of these youngsters grows up to become a politician, remember you heard their policy idea here, first.