You need to repeal the legislation which governs children in AMATEUR entertainment fields.

Currently hundreds of operatic societies are prevented from allowing children under 16 to take part in their activities by a huge range of bureaucratic rules which different from county to county and yet these societies provide so many things which would benefit children and allow them to develop their potential:  I don't mean as entertainers – I mean as people.

There can be little more beneficial than for a child to experience the team work and family  spirit which permeates these societies.  They learn discipline, respect, attention to detail, courtesy to others and collective responsibility in an environment which is friendly and well-regulated.  Of course we must be careful that children are not explointed but, unless we make it easier for societes to receive them from 13/14 onwards, these children can so easily go off the rails.  Surely it's better for them to be at rehearsal under watchful eyes than standing on street corners drinking etc?

I've seen wonderful things happen when young adults feel accepted and relied upon as a member of a group – I've watched with joy as they have transcended their terrible home circumtances or been drawn out of depression.  We can do this (and, of course, so can many other types of society but my particualr expertise is amatuer drama, dance and music) and I know what it can do for children to feel involved in that special family atmosphere, working together on a common enterprise, making lifelong friendships, learning how make things, put up posters, channel their energies and  enthusiasms.

You need to lower the age on these restrictions to 13 or 14 and let us guide these youngsters as we will happily do.  Long-standing Societies of proven track record  should be allowed to assume collective responsibility for members under 16 and given the same exemptions as teachers.

Why is this idea important?

Because we could make a real difference at an early enough age

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