Wednesday, 02 September 2015

Vandalism sparks summit for young people in Barow park

VANDALISM to playgrounds across Furness prompted a meeting between youngsters, police, council officers and other agencies.

The play area in Church Street, Barrow, was closed “for the foreseeable future” due to persistent vandalism.

It was the most costly of attacks on five council-owned parks across the borough towards the end of the school summer holidays.

And in September, two players’ shelters at Barrow Park Bowling Club were kicked to bits.

They were built in 2010 thanks to £1,100 in donations.

In response, a summit called Love Barrow Park was held at the skatepark near The Park Leisure Centre earlier this month.

At least 60 young people attended and spoke with staff from Barrow Borough Council, PCSOs and representatives from crime reduction charity NACRO and community enterprise Inspira.

They discussed the vandalism, which totalled more than £15,000, and Rebecca Rawlings, council community safety officer, said: “They were, just like us, saying it was terrible and couldn’t understand why anyone would do anything like that.

They looked at it as daft and mindless and I would be quite convinced they were not the ones involved in any of the vandalism.”

The youngsters, aged around 13 to 18, took part in a skating competition organised by Kieron Christian and Michael Holden from the Drop Zone youth club, and enjoyed burgers and drinks from Mr Pickwick’s snack van.

They also answered questionnaires and spoke about what they would, and would not, like to see in the park.

Ms Rawlings said: “One of the things they were really interested in was having floodlights around the skatepark so they can skate later, which is something that would be brilliant, but there is the cost to consider.

“A few were talking to Keith Johnson (council assistant director of community services) and they were really impressed he was listening to their views, as young people, and taking them seriously.

“They really liked that and understood the money restraints. They were articulate and well-rounded young people.”

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