Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/363/5971
Young People Demand Proper Facilities
MANCHESTER CITY Council is always attacking young people for hanging around on the streets. But what else can young people do when they have nothing to do and nowhere to go? The council have spent plenty of money in the city centre - £75,000 for a skate park, over £1 million a year for a "city life museum" but we need decent youth facilities in Benchill and Wythenshawe.
Lynn Worthington talked to Cheryl, Clare, and Alex (all 15), and Nathan (9)
"There's nothing to do in the area but meet up with our mates on the street and have a laugh. The police don't want us to hang around so they stop us and PNC us (check on the police national computer -Eds). They ask us what we're doing on the streets and sometimes give us abuse. The older people try to get us to move somewhere else. It's boring. If we stay in the house we just get moaned at by our parents."
There are nearly 8,000 young people aged 16-24 in Wythenshawe. The council provides just two youth clubs, in Baguley and Woodhouse Park. In Benchill there are no facilities at all. The housing company Willow Park promised new facilities as part of the housing transfer. They never materialised.
What there is, such as Newall Green youth club, is totally inadequate: "All the girls got was a small room with chairs in. The boys had most of the room and things like a pool table and table tennis, only two Playstations and two computers. We would have liked a music room, classes aimed at us like hairdressing and trips out. It seems to just be for the little kids like Nathan.
"The local school did trampolining on Sundays and it cost £3.50. Now the school only opens it when they feel like it. It's too dear for us to use. The school was given money for an all-weather pitch but that's used by local sports clubs, like Manchester City youth team. The school spent too much money on things just aimed at boys and not us girls."
Wythenshawe needs free, community-controlled and publicly funded facilities for young people. Existing facilities need proper funding and youth involvement. Areas without youth clubs should be given them. The council and Willow Park should be forced to deliver the money.
In The Socialist 25 September 2004:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis