A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
A chilling report and video on the Guardian website today entitled Haringey youth club closures: 'There'll be riots' highlights the impact of Haringey council shutting eight of its 13 youth clubs. Interviewed in the piece, local Wood Green teenagers fear that a lack of any purposeful activity over the summer will result in an increase in violence between young gang members, and draw in those on the edges of gang culture.
Youth provision and particularly summer activities have a huge impact on engaging young people and avoiding anti-social behaviour over the long unstructured holiday period.
The closure of youth facilities in Haringey comes at the same time as a police “crackdown” on groups of young people congregating in the street. (recently reported in the Tottenham Journal). Nobody wants to feel intimidated in their own neighbourhood – but where are these groups of young people being “moved-on” to? It’s a worry that now with nothing to do but hang around in the high street normal teen exuberance is more likely to be drawn to the attention of police enforcement officers. This may result in an increased reporting of anti-social behaviour adding to the perception of rising crime, but more importantly result in a young person becoming involved in the criminal justice system simply because the youth clubs they have attended are being cut to save money.
These huge cuts in youth provision are so short-sighted. It’s clear that providing positive activities could prevent anti-social behaviour occurring so saving the future cost of more acute impact further down the line. This is the effect of the 75% cut in youth provision - a cut which will have a lifelong impact for some local young people.
It’s a spectrum; simple low-cost youth club input now will be more cost-effective for us all than criminal sanctions – potentially prison – later on. Significantly the impact on victims and offenders could be reduced if intervention happened earlier to prevent the descent into more extreme criminal activity.