Monday 11 August 2003 10.31pm
The local community regeneration trust has recently allocated, as I understand it, over £200,000 for teenagers in Waterloo. I am not completely happy because it is being spent on setting up youth forum whilst I am desperately looking for a much much smaller amount to keep football for this age group going in Archbishops, and where we do get a good attendence.
Anyway it was a community board including young people who set the priorities, and the decision was based on a lot of consultation in the Waterloo area. And I can't be right all the time (?!) The group is called SE1 United
. It is run by Natalie Bell who is cool and who works out of works out of South Bank Employers Group offices abouve Thai Silk on Waterloo Road
. I recently saw an advert for two workers to support the group so they are well resourced.
Social responsibility is a key skill for teenagers to learn so they might be willing to take this issue on as an early Forum discussion. Plus they presumably know each other from school etc, and the kids who participate might have some ideas of how to get the others involved.
Alternatively Southwark has built up a good reputation for youth inclusion type projects (for the kids who don't engage in mainstream activity). Think its called Karrot. Perhaps with all the money its got Waterloo could buy in some of this experience.
I have known three or four kids of primary age who are pretty much neglected - with the eldest now in care several years after the damage has been done. The youngest appeared to stop attending school aged eight. And I know them because they were feral and and a couple of friends of mine regularly fed the children they knew. My friend who is married to a local GP says he has seen cases of scurvey where small children have only had crusts of bread to eat.
My very small contribution has been to try and ensure that all kids have a park to play in and things to do in that park. The scheme starts at six so kids will stay in the habit of participating. But it much harder work with teenagers. I still hope that with the money (£5 million for community projects over 7 years) there will be a real will to deliver a well thought out and structured initiative aimed at this particular group. Intensive work with excluded kids costs a lot of money - but it costs an awful lot more to do nothing.
Any does anyone have any money to help the footie. Perhaps I should try businesses around Waterloo.....