Bring back the youth clubs

DO you know how many youth clubs there are in Newham? Have you noticed that many seem to have vanished? What really happened to them? Gone are those years where there was a mushroom of these clubs, crowds of youths congregating there and youth crime at i

DO you know how many youth clubs there are in Newham? Have you noticed that many seem to have vanished? What really happened to them?

Gone are those years where there was a mushroom of these clubs, crowds of youths congregating there and youth crime at its lowest!

It's such a shame that Newham Council have neglected having these clubs in nearly all parts of the borough.

The clubs kept our children off the streets, compared to nowadays where streets are their playgrounds. After school or during holidays, you find our children hanging around doing nothing. There are no adequate centres of play and the few playgrounds that are available are unsafe to use or have been taken over by youth gangs or by drunken adults who sit on benches binge drinking, with litter strewn everywhere.


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It is not surprising that children avoid these grounds. No one can expect any parent to allow their child to be in such surroundings.

And playgrounds offer only sporty activities. What about children who dislike intense activities? Those who are disabled? What other choices do we offer them?

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I have seen kids playing computer games in Internet cafes. Some have Internet in their homes but because they want to socialise outdoors with their friends, the only non-sporty entertainment they can afford is in Internet cafes and on street corners!

This is where youth clubs are a lifeline for our children. In nearly all parts of Newham you will find buildings that are empty but sound.

If they can be put to good use they could provide our children with a fun and sociable place to play, a place of entertainment where the able-bodied and disabed can make new friends.

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Some people might say that time has moved on and youth clubs are of a different age. But they forget that these clubs worked!

A lot of activities can function under one roof - arts and crafts, dance, music, youth debates cultural exchange programmes, Inter-faith interaction, movies and disco nights.

Issues such as sex education, health and living, anti-social behaviour could be channelled to youth clubs, leaving teachers to focus on lessons.

How wonderful it would be to see parents knowing where their children are and even joining youngsters in certain programmes? It would add to the parent-child bond in a setting you cannot find in the classroom or anywhere else.

The clubs could be free - something most parents would welcome because hundreds of them live in dire straits and cannot afford to continue paying for their children's entertainment.

They say statics have shown that youth crime has decreased but the fear of it has increased.

Youth clubs are essential, an antidote to youth crime and their impact can not only be felt by our children but our communities at large. We need these clubs! - BENJAMIN DAKA, Leytonstone Road, Stratford.

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