It’s the most common question asked in I’m a Councillor. And, of course, a lot of the time, where teenagers don’t have anything to do, they hang around in the street and get into trouble. Even if they aren’t making any trouble adults are often intimidated by them, because our society seems to regard young people as barbarians.
Young people mainly want a safe place where they can hang out with other teenagers – their mates, and also potential love interests. Their problem, in a nutshell, is they are too old to want to hang out at home with siblings and parents and they are too young to go to the pub. I could go on about this loads more, but I’ll spare you. For now.
Today, a campaign called Make Space have issued a report on this very issue. You can download a copy of the report from their home page. Apparently yesterday they projected an image of Tony Blair wearing a hoodie onto the side of the Houses of Parliament, in order to publicise it, but sadly few papers have picked up on the story.
They surveyed over 7,000 young people and the report contains a lot of sense (although nothing that surprising when you’ve moderated as many young people’s questions as I have). Make Space are funded (to the tune of £3 million! Ah, we dream of such budgets…) by a charity called 4Children, and Nestlé. Their main aim is encouraging the development of youth clubs that meet teenager’s needs and where young people have a say. We’re right behind this of course! They offer support to local authorities, or to individual clubs, in various ways, so, for all our youth work readers, it may be worth checking out what they can do for you.