In response to concerns about ‘gangs’ of young people congregating in large numbers around Manor Walks and other areas, Cramlington Town Council commissioned North East charity NE Youth to look at the issues facing young people in the town.
The project was initially commissioned to run for a six-month period, to involve the delivery of an outreach and research initiative.
Its key aims were to identify the ‘hot spot’ areas where young people are meeting around the town, engage with the young people and begin to develop positive relationships, identify needs and aspirations and involve the young people in producing a report that fully articulates a way forward for them to be fully engaged in future services and provision.
A final report was presented to Cramlington Town Council last week.
It says that overall, nothing that was observed or experienced during the outreach work in Cramlington, in terms of young people’s behaviour, was considered out of the ordinary or extreme.
It is acknowledged that there is a drinking culture amongst a small group of young people in the town, but this is sadly a social norm and should not be blown out of proportion.
Adults and agencies are said to be implementing strategies that are effectively dealing with the anti-social behaviour presented by this minority group.
But the report makes some important recommendations, which are as follows:
l Commission a feasibility study of the suitability of a youth shelter where young people can hang out, assessing the likely impact on youth anti-social behaviour versus the safety of the young people using it. If such a youth shelter was deemed a suitable solution, consider commissioning detached youth workers to support the young people with alcohol safety education
l Liaise with leisure providers to try and secure cheaper prices for young people to access facilities at Concordia.
l Conduct a survey of street lighting at Horton Park and the skate park.
l Consider ways to address the drinking culture, including supporting young people to make sensible decisions about alcohol, the ready availability of alcohol and enforcement to address drinking in public places (in line with the Youth Alcohol Action Plan 2008).
l Work with shop, restaurant and security staff to develop further strategies to deal with youth anti-social behaviour, in a way that does not demonise all young people.
To progress the report’s recommendations, the town council has agreed to set up a Youth Council – with representatives from key agencies and organisations working with young people in Cramlington.
A full copy of the report is available at www.cramlingtontowncouncil.gov.uk