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Thursday January 28 2021

thevillage


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In Full . . .

We must change village direction

Posted on November 26 2006 at 11:21:55

Alvechurch is a large village which offers much to all those who live within its parish – a great location, great schools and generally a safe environment. All these and many other facts make Alvechurch a desirable place to live.

Yet it is not without faults and does have some problems which have been highlighted during consultations with the police. There is little to offer the teenagers in the village – this is not unique, it is often difficult for teenagers to have a place they can meet, talk, listen to music and generally obtain a sense of space away from parents.

Most teenagers in the village respond well to the limitations and seek to find activities and entertainment that do not conflict with others trying to live within the village. In writing this letter I hope to draw attention to how these teenagers, who are the silent majority, are all too easily being blighted unfairly by the actions of others.

It can be all too easy to blame all teenagers when generalising about the actions of a minority. For example when groups of teenagers gather, most of the time it is little more than a chance to meet and chat.

They can be seen as threatening because of their numbers rather than behaviour. This changes when alcohol and drugs become involved and their actions become anti-social and intimidating.

There has been a growing problem of teenage anti-social activity within the village, often as a result of excessive alcohol consumption, with many residents reporting their behaviour to the police.

With this general increase in ‘low’ crime comes the trappings of property damage, litter and destruction of community life. People become less sociable, retreating to the safety of their homes at night rather than facing abuse and the fear of crime by venturing out. 

Responsibility for the current anti-social behaviour of some teenagers needs to be addressed by the general public, police and parents who may be innocently providing money to children without any understanding of why and where the money is being spent.

This uncontrolled wealth is allowing the teenagers to buy alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. While they may feel intimidated by groups of teenagers, shops should decline any sale of alcohol and tobacco to those who are clearly under age.

Proof of age should be required and where there is any indication alcohol is being forwarded to children under age the shopkeeper should decline the sale.

Walking into the Meadows on a Sunday morning and seeing the aftermath of excessive drinking, with beer cans, bottles and litter thrown over the children’s swings, football pitches and shelter does question how we wish to see our children brought up.

To see groups of children sitting on the swings in large groups smoking cannabis openly, huddled in the dark around torches passing joints between one another, is a depressing sight. I can only imagine the possible harm this will have on their mental health.

Without the concerted effort of the community and the police to tackle these issues in Alvechurch we will learn to accept anti-social behaviour as the norm and will find the village we all enjoy becoming a less desirable place to live and bring up children.

I do not wish to see this happen and I do not wish to see teenagers being branded as trouble by the actions of the few. As adults we need to provide support, guidance and activities for children even if it means more work to provide the time and resources for them to use their time constructively.

If there is little to do in the village parents should try to get their children involved in activities outside the village. 

I may be wrong, but to me there needs to be something done to change the direction the village is heading. Am I a lone voice? I hope not.

Mark Pumphrey, Alvechurch


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