110 deltagere i Løsningernes Rum gav løbende gennem aftenen deres mening til kende ved hjælp af røde og grønne sedler.

The Room of Solutions filled with young passionate people

New partnerships, breakdown of tabu´s and a new app for local transportation. That was just some of the solutions, that emerged during the evening in the Room of Solutions tuesday night in the small danish town, Middelfart

110 citizens, a mayor, a principal at the local gymnasium, a manager and experts got tuesday night together in the big auditorium at the Bank of Middelfart. The townmeeting was held as a gathering in the Room of Solutions.

In the Room of Solutions everybody was asked to bring solutions to the three topics we were gathered to discuss. That ment, that the debate was focused on solutions instead of problems. The discussion about mistakes, errors and political disagreements was put aside for an evening. During the night, the audience was involved in a lot of ways.

Gerd Maria May som ordstyrer i Løsningernes Rum med temaet “Ryk Middelfart”

The topics for the event, had been decided by the young prople in the town. They had picked three topics, where they wanted help to move Middelfart in a positive direction.

The three topics, the young people chose, was:

Walker — a house for the young people to get together is not very popular — how can we change that?
To many young people get sick withh stress and depression — What can we do to change that?
We need better public transportation, when you live outside the city — What can we do to improve that?

To succeed with the ambition of collecting new possible solutions in order to move Middelfart in a positive direction, we had been working intensively for the past seven weeks.

The students had been tought constructive journalism as a part of their curriculum at the gymnasium. And together with their local media, Fyens Stiftstidende, they had been researching and writing articles about the topics for the past seven weeks. Therefore we could present a lot of facts, experience and great cases to explain the problems, and the possible solutions.

Colours in The Room og Solutions

Alle the participants was from the beginning given a red and a green piece of paper. The coloured paper was designed to make sure, that everybody got a chance to show their opinions, their knowledge and their willingnes to take on a responsebility to help solve some of the local issues.

On the stage, we had invited the people in power, who were able to make decisions, that could change things. But also to hear their ideas and knowledge about the three topics.

During the debates it was not only the the decisionmakers and the expert, who came up with possible solutions. It was also very much the audience. But often it was in the discussions between the panelists and the audience, the best ideas showed.

Seven weeks of working with constructive journalism in collaboration between the local media and the local gymnasium ended with a gathering in the Room of Solutions.

The debate ended up with ideas about:

  • that those responsible found that almost no one in the target group knows about the municipality’s emergency telephone for the use of young people with stress.
  • that the local youth hall Walker now initiates collaboration with the high school party committee.
  • that Fynbus and Middelfart municipality are starting to look into the possibility of developing a local interconnection transport-app so that young people can come home from downtown in the evening and in the weekend where there is no public offer.
  • that a group of young people decided and agreed to meet to shine up the local youth hall.
  • that a group of young people will meet to arrange some cool events in the local youth hall.

The above five solutions are just a part of all the ideas that came up Tuesday evening.
In addition to the ideas the panelists brought, the audience also came on the pitch with a lot of idea suggestions. In fact, there were so many ideas along the way that I, as a moderater, had to shut down the discussion several times.
Instead, I put up three posters so the ideas that were not discussed in the debate could be written up afterwards. And it became a great deal. people lined up, to get to write their ideas at the posters.

Together with the young people, the mayor (with his backs in front on the picture above) lined up in order to write down their solution suggestions. Each of the evening’s three themes had their own poster, and the three of them were all filled with ideas when the meeting ended.

Discussion, singing and solutions

The evening was started with a song where one of the young people from Middelfart Gymnasium played while others sang on the “Livstræet”, which encouraged us to play. From here we started introducing the concept and the hall started to answer if they had realized that the evening was about solutions. Fortunately, it resulted in green notes everywhere, and the debate could start.

The first topic that the young people had chosen was what was needed for the city’s youth hall; Walker to become more popular. A leader of the youth hall, a user and the mayor came up with their suggestions as to what they needed. But they were quickly overtaken by the listeners in the Room of Solutions, which included ideas, comments and concrete solutions. The evening’s most popular idea was introduced, when one of the audience asked why Walker did not cooperate with the high school party committee.- Each time the party committee arranges something, we all show up, she said. Why dont you do anything together? Leader of Walker, Anders Bo Thorsted immediately nodded to the idea. The green notes filled the room again, when I asked if the youngsters would appear at Walker, if the high school party committee invited. And then there was a meeting in the calendar. And so, the debate continued until I interrupted and called for a break where a large group of young people, mayor and leader of Walker were given the task to come up with a a date for when they should all get together for a Walker 2.0 launch meeting.

The next topic was public transport. A topic that is important for many students in the province, where there are often far from home to school and friends. One of them was Nikolaj Østergaard, who lives in Harndrup 20 kilometers outside Middelfart. He had arrived by car, as the last bus had stopped driving a long time before our meeting in the Solutions Room closed at 20. The same was true for the vast majority of participants.

The red and green notes soon came into use, as the participants from the start should state whether they were going home with public or private transport. Here the hall was red and that kick-started the debate on public transport in the local area. Both Fynbus Market Manager Jan Gudmann Hansen and Mayor Johannes Lundsfryd had to acknowledge that there was a need in the market that was not covered. Through the preceding seven weeks of journalistic coverage of the subject, we could also say that eight percent of the young people had tried to drive or to be driven from the city by one who was drunk and that security was a crucial wish from both the young people and their parents.

From there the talk went out to possible solutions. But instead of ending with the constant talk of money, the discussion was focused on what we could do. Could the students themselves arrange community gathering when the local disco closes Friday night and they need to get home? Can you insert a night bus just one night in the week, based on the young people’s own data collection, or what if you put Fynbus and DSB together to find a solution? The ideas were many and the debate eager.

As a last theme, the young people pointed to the pressure they experience in their daily lives, where studies show that an increasing number of people get stress and depression.

On the stage, the principal at Middelfart Gymnasium, Christian Alnor, was convinced that the young people could do a lot to help each other through the pressure. Together with him, a 3rd grade student at Middelfart Gymnasium, Sofie Amalie Bjørklund, proposed free psychological help for young people, and Esben Erichsen (A), vice president of the children, culture and leisure committee, pointed at the fact, that the young people already have some free psychological help in the form of the emergency telephone.

But when I asked the audience that almost everyone was in the target group, if they knew about the emergency phone, a red card was raised all over the room, and Esben Erichsen had to admit that more should be done before it makes a difference .

Of course, we took on this debate with the hope of finding solutions, and one of the ideas was that information should be provided at the high school and written in the newspaper. Both parts are going to happen.

On the stage were also 22-year-old Jonas Hulgaard Ammundsen. He has been so hard hit by stress and depression that last year he was close to taking his own life. His invitation was that we should break the taboo, and with the green and red notes in their hands, the audience could keep up with their opinions on a regular basis, and it became clear that a large proportion of the young people feel hit by the pressure, and wish for someone to talk about it. So also on this topic, new solutions showed up.

Principal Christian Alnor will now address the region’s offer of assistance for the training of teachers in the field, and the topic will be presented at high school.

The evening ended as it had begun, with a song. As an ending to the night in the Roon og Solutions about the life for young people in Middelfart, we sang Kim Larsen’s tribute of “The beautiful young people”

The evening ended with a song and then a long queue at the poster- boards, where both the young, the mayor and the experts were flocked to get their ideas farther out of the Solutions Room.
The journalists from Fyens Stiftstidende who have covered the whole course were of course also present at the meeting, bringing the ideas on to the next day’s releases, and are now discussing how the solution proposals go beyond the Solutions Room.

Do you want to hear more about the idea behind the concept or would you like to have organized a debate in the Solutions Room, then get in touch with me so that we can get more solutions, inspiration, nuances and trust in our journalism and in our development of community.

Reach out at: gerdmay@gmail.com