Plea to play from estate’s teenagers

Youngsters at Mereside Community Centre.
Youngsters at Mereside Community Centre.
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A YOUTH worker has pleaded for teenagers on a Blackpool estate to be offered activities to keep them off the streets.

Linda Bwornik runs a group for disabled youngsters from Mereside Community Centre – but says she has been inundated with other teenagers who want to join in.

Police have received complaints some youths are causing a nuisance around the Bowness Avenue centre, but Ms Bwornik, who runs the Activity Leisure Solutions (ALS) group said the bored teenagers hanging around outside simply want something to do.

She said: “They want to come in and join the groups that are there, rather than causing trouble.

“They get on well with all our children – every now and again there are incidents but it is just kids being kids.

“Some of the things they do are silly, they mess around and try and climb through the roof, but they’ve been out there for two hours asking to come in, and so the boredom sets in.

“If they were inside working with us they would learn a lot off our children and our children would learn a lot off them.

“They have realised our children do the same as them.

“When I asked the kids on the estate what they wanted to do they said trampolining, and we here have a trampolining group.”

ALS currently only caters for disabled youngsters and their siblings and friends, but has applied for funding to allow youngsters from the estate to join in.

Charlotte Kalthoeber, 20, used to volunteer at the group, and has now been taken on as an employee there.

She said: “This is about the young people, who I think can really benefit from being here.”

Concerns about behaviour near the youth centre were raised at a Police and Communities Together meeting.

Clifton ward councillor Adrian Hutton said: “I’m not aware of any particularly bad incidents, it’s just general misbehaving.”

Blackpool Council’s youth service has been axed in order to save £600,000 but a fund of £250,000 is being set up which existing youth organisations can bid for. Blackpool Council said it was considering new youth provisions in Mereside.

Coun Chris Maughan, cabinet member for younger people, said: “We have received dozens of entries from groups looking for funding to help provide a youth provision.

“We are committed to providing the tools for the community and voluntary sector to run their own youth services that are tailored to communities’ needs.”

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