Message from Penny Short:
The Haddington and Lammermuir Area Partnership wish to provide more places for young people to hang out both in Haddington and within the rural communities in the area. There is an inequality in the provision of social/recreational facilities of children and young people between the rural villages and those living in the town centre. As Champion of Children and Young People I have been tasked to consult local people about this proposal and I would be very grateful if you could take the time to read the information below and let me know your thoughts and views.
Why Install a Youth Shelter?
Young people mature by socialising and learning to relate to each other, away from direct adult supervision. Responsible and caring communities are beginning to cater for this vulnerable and impressionable age group by providing for their basic social need of a “safe place of our own to meet friends”. Purpose built heavy duty outdoor seating, generally referred to as Youth Shelters, are increasingly being asked for by teenagers and provided by the communities of which they are part of.
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. The Mental Health Foundation advise that things that can help keep children and young people mentally well can include:
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
- feeling they have some control over their own life
Providing an “always open” youth shelter is a highly visible demonstration of a commitment by the community to include and cater for the needs of young people. They provide opportunities for 12-16 year olds to socialise and relate to each other. The structure would be designated as a “Youth Shelter” but of course could be used by people of any age including young children and parents of kids playing in the park if the weather is inclement.
Garvald is one of the most remote villages in the Haddington & Lammermuir area, with no public transport. There are currently 22 high school-aged kids in the wider Garvald area with 12 based in the village. If these young people are feeling isolated or wish to socialise with people their own age in a relaxed atmosphere away from parental supervision, they have currently nowhere to go that doesn’t require them to be physically taken there, usually by parents. There is no safe and sheltered area in Garvald where kids can just escape for some breathing space. The park in Garvald is an ideal location for this pilot because of its central location in the village and its large size which means the shelter would not be sited near any homes.
Design of Shelter
I looked at a number of designs of but prices quoted were around £15,000 for a basic shelter and none were visually attractive. After speaking to Amenity Services regarding the standard youth shelters available on the market, a suggestion was made that Amenity Services would design, make and install the shelter for around £5,000. The construction would consist of steel poles with specially produced boards which are durable and resistant with a life-time guarantee and with no maintenance required. The boards are designed to look like wood panels and the sheIter would have a natural ‘rustic’ look. The proposed shelter is not large and would be sympathetically designed to fit in with the play park equipment already in the park. It would be covered by the Council’s insurance and maintained by the Council. I am also looking at installing wi-fi in the shelter (at no extra cost).
Please let me have your responses by 17 January 2017. Thank you.