Youth champion speaks out in defence of Morecambe teens

More money must be invested in our young people before it's too late.

Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 6:46 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 4:39 pm
Robyn Thomas, project manager, and her daughter Olivia Thomas, lead youth worker, both from Stanley's Youth and Community Centre.

This is the view of Robyn Thomas, who is working hard to give opportunities to kids at a West End youth and community centre.

Robyn is project manager at Stanley’s on Stanley Road, which runs a whole range of activities and projects for young people.

And after hearing about the recent incidents of teenage anti-social behaviour in Morecambe, Robyn believes it’s important not to tar all kids with the same brush.

“Most young people we meet are lovely,” she said.

“They talk about 50 young people causing trouble but that’s still a very tiny minority of the young people in Morecambe and Lancaster.

“People don’t see the good young people do. But we have to invest money and energy into our young people. We need to nurture them, build trust with them.

“Young people don’t feel they are listened to enough. Sometimes we are the ear at the end of the day, when they’ve had a bad day at school, or if they want to tell us about an exciting thing they have done. We are in a really privileged position to work with young people. But if we don’t get the investment in them now, what is the future going to bring?

“Cuts are being made left, right and centre. The fact that children’s centres are closing is a tragedy.

“There are also not enough free things for young people to do. Bowling costs. The cinema costs. Some parents can’t afford it. If there were more options, young people wouldn’t be running around wild.”

Robyn believes the rise of the internet and social media is one of the biggest reasons behind the youth anti-social behaviour in Morecambe.

“With the internet, you can set up meetings really quickly. Someone can say ‘I’m going to be at this place, can you come too?’ The use of it is crazy. Young people don’t think beyond that one second when they post that picture of themselves or say something online that there’s no way of retracting.

“We run a session called Choices where we work through with the kids to encourage them not to make bad choices, like drinking, in relationships and with internet safety.”

Activities at Stanley’s also include sport, cooking, art, crafts, music, summer playschemes, day and weekend trips, and a mentoring programme.