Venue: Temple Hill Community Hall, Temple Hill Square, Littlebrook Manor Way, Dartford DA1 5HY
Contact: Willl Farmer 07841 315596
The notes of the meeting held on 20th March 2008 were agreed.
Kent County Council Youth Service representatives and Paul Marriot from the Thames Gateway YMCA and young people
Paul Marriot showed a short video produced by the YMCA of young people in the Temple Hill area giving their views on the provision of services for young people in the area. Paul outlined what the YMCA is also doing in the area with young people. Key issues for young people are provision of leisure opportunities, anti-social behaviour and fear of crime. They feel that just the minority of young people cause trouble. The majority are fearful of crime just as anyone else.
Brenda Armstrong, Youth Officer, Kent County Council
Brenda Armstrong spoke on the provision of youth services by KCC in Dartford. Do a lot of very good work. Three Centre/Projects in total: Highfield, Swan Valley and Dartford Detached. However, they are in great demand and this is only a relatively small resource. Demand for youth workers to respond in the area is always pressing, but there are not the resources available.
Young people from Highfields Youth Centre spoke on their visit to Gambia. They spoke briefly about the great opportunity this gave to the young people to experience and help communities who had much less than people in UK. That this experience was something they wanted to pass on and tell their friends.
Questions from the public to the presenter
Q. Temple Hill (TH) Youth Centre is under threat and the lease is in Dartford Borough council’s hands. Detached youth workers do not build long term relationship with young people.
Feels that there are a lot of difficult young people in the area, not all good. The way that the youth centre is managed helps control this element.
A. KCC youth services covers 13-19 year olds. Temple Hill is covered by detached youth workers from the YMCA. KCC Youth Service is always looking for ways to work in partnership. There is no Youth Service input to the area as it is covered by YMCA staff. The call for youth workers is always present so effective use of resources is always a factor when allocation focus work areas.
Q. What is being done to attract more youth workers?
A. Recruitment of staff is ongoing, but Dartford is often a difficult area to attract candidates – one reason being proximity to London. Some people do enter the service as volunteers and then become youth workers. The youth service does not have the budget to employ extra staff. Training is available for youth workers and volunteers.
Mr Ivor Jones
Feels that it was a fantastic opportunity for young people to go to Gambia to help other people more in need and realise that we have a lot in this Country in comparison. Important thing that they speak to their friends about the experience.
Mrs Christine Angell
Believes that it is scandalous that there is not enough money for this age group. She wants to work with a small group in the area to find out what can be done to help the situation
Mr John Muckle
Applauds the work of the young people in Gambia. Part of the problem for the temple hill youth centre is its quality. Money for the centre was pulled by KCC along time ago, when KCC gave the ownership of the centre over to Dartford Borough Council. JM is dealing with the issue of the centre with DBC. Believes also that most young people are good, not bad, and that the issues for young people remain similar from one generation to the next. Kent youth OFSTED report did say that the spending per head of 13-19 population is very low. KCC should be lobbied for more funding.
Q. Temple Hill youth centre was a KCC Youth Centre and cost KCC very little. What opportunity is there for getting it back within KCC?
A. The TH gym provides a service for young people and keeps the youth centre going.
The notes from Frank Brown’s presentation are attached the end of these notes.
Questions from the public to the presenter
Q. Is Dartford Festival only running until 8pm again?
A. Yes, because of there is greater potential for trouble if it runs later. Whole event would be ruined by a single incident. Security costs a lot of money for the event. 40000 people attended last year and the potential for crime could be higher if it went into the evening.
Q. The summer sizzlers – it is no good for some parents who work.
Q. Used to be a children’s university. What has happened to this?
A. Ann Allen – DBC were responsible for this but had problems.
Q. All leisure facilities are good in Dartford, but not aware of any youth discounts? How are these done and promoted?
A. Would like to create a leisure link discount in the future.
Q. Nothing about cycling in leisure plans?
A. Agree that DBC should be encouraging cycling more.
Q. Is a new pool being built to replace Fairfield?
A. Yes that is the plan.
Q. Is anyone looking at the pool because it is really run down?
A. Doesn’t feel the company is spending enough money on the pool but this is being addressed with the company.
Q. Feel that Dartford needs something really special as a town to celebrate it.
A. Steam festival was a great success.
Question Time – Your opportunity to ask questions about local public services
Q. One with Grace Centre (OWG) is facing closure and refused planning permission for new site. Provides opportunities for young people.
A. The planning matter is a DBC decision.
Q. What is the situation regarding the future of Highfield Youth centre
A. Currently being looked at by KCC with partners.
Q. Parents are being told that they can’t get places for their children in Temple Hill Primary school because of falling rolls and they have to go to Stone. This is a long way and can’t be walked. Stone is a good school but surely this increases traffic on the road and is difficult for parents.
A. Mr Maddison is looking into this as well because of a similar situation in his area (west Dartford).
Mr John Muckle feels that this is an absurd situation and all children on temple hill should have places in their local primary school. However, it is a very difficult situation to resolve. Parents need to take it up with the Government and Ombudsman.
There is a surplus of places in Dartford because of falling rolls and schools are told to reduce their places.
Q. However, local people feel that it is crazy to be told to go to St Mary’s school when you live in Temple Hill.