In the heart of Kingsway is the School, and now the school has a new addition, which opened last night. I was very pleased to be invited along, which was well attended by members of the Equals Youth club, the police, Gloucester County Council and GHA, as well at the Quedgeley Youth Parish Council members.
The Kingsway Youth Pod, is essentially an ISO container which has been decked out as large room with an office and toilet facilities. Aimed at the youth of Quedgeley aged 13+ it offers a place to “hang out” as well as various activities. It is essentially a branch of Equals Youth Centre, ran by Shiela Golder.
I feel that in many places that people feel there are too many youths hanging about and there is a perception that they are up to no good all the time. However, when you look at the reports of Anti Social Behaviour, there are more reports of adults (Bad Driving, parking, abusiveness, etc) than there is of under 18s.
The development of Kingsway to date of youth has been 2 parks, which are mainly for children up to say 10 years old. Parents don’t like to see older kids there during the day, and there is problems with graffiti etc. They also have many activities to highlight awareness of things like alcohol and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and other topics of interest.
I think having somewhere for them to be able to hang out and congregate is a good thing, especially as there will be facilitators on hand too. The placing of the pod does put it at the heart of the community and I hope that residents will see the positive impact of it, and that locals will be encouraged to volunteer to help out as it is a community asset. And in the future, when the development moves on, it will no doubt be resited somewhere more permenant.
When I was at the Labour Conference, one of the events I went to was hosted by Play England, and they were highlighting the facts that many people who compain about the “Youth of Today” do seem to forget that they were kids themselves and how they felt at that particular time of their lives. I see this as a great step forward to engaging, rather than ignoring the issues!
It has taken a lot of effort (some of it can be followed on the Kingsway Villagers Blog), by a lot of people to site the Pod and getting it going, especially running into issues of location and funding support. I am particularly pleased that this has been opened before the CSR as it could have easily been wiped from the budgets.
Now the challenge will be in supporting the Pod, and Equals, to ensure they keep carrying out the good work they are doing.