Highlighting lack of youth facilities

Nathan Barr near council-funded playpark.
Nathan Barr near council-funded playpark.
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Teenagers in Waringstown have created a film aimed at highlighting the lack of youth facilities in the village

Frustrated with the lack of facilities for young people the teenagers are lobbying the local council.

With Fixers – the charity which gives young people the chance to create a media campaign - they have made a film showing that there is little for teenagers to do - which can lead to people making complaints to the police when they see them congregating.

The group believe that the lack of facilities can lead to people making complaints when they see teenagers hanging around outside, with the police frequently having to move them on.

Nathan Barr, 17, said: “There’s a lack of open space and youth provision – so it’s hard to find somewhere young people can hang out without annoying local residents or wasting police time.

“We are trying to lobby the local council and other funders to raise awareness about this lack of facilities and how we can improve them.”

Nathan says that a playpark is provided by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, but it is not suitable for teenagers and that although there is a football pitch at the village’s primary school it cannot be accessed without permission.

The film features interviews with politicians, a police constable and a community pastor - who all agree that the lack of facilities for young people are problematic.

Nathan, who is studying for a level three extended diploma in IT at Southern Regional College, hopes to set up further talks in the future to spread the message and plans to arrange a screening of the film in Waringstown so that more councillors can see the lack of provision.

“We have been trying to get in contact with members of the council to address the lack of facilities,” he said.

Community pastor Neil Harrison said that although there is a youth centre it is limited in terms of size and space – meaning a number of young people can’t access it.

He added: “There’s most definitely a need within our village to have a facility set aside for young people on a regular basis where they can come and spend time with their friends in a safe environment,” he said.