It’s vital that government and councils invest in infrastructure for local community areas. Small kids and younger adults need and benefit from areas that are safe and offer opportunities for relaxation and spending time with their friends.
Keep youth centres open
Youth centres have been closing at increasingly alarming rates. On average, funding for youth services has been cut by 40 per cent over the last three years. It’s a cut which neglects to see the bigger picture, as youth centres are vital for keeping young people off the streets.
Seen as outmoded and outdated by some, people often don’t realise the number of services which are offered by these centres. Most importantly, the centres offer a central place in the community for young people to gather and entertain themselves, keeping them off the streets. After-school clubs are only one way to ensure that kids go from school to a safe place in the community without being diverted away. If you build places of interest, the kids will come: boredom and social instability, whether in social circles or at home, are the first steps to becoming involved in crime and dangerous activities. Youth centres are able to counter both of these causes directly, providing both activities and specialist help for young people.
Rejuvenate local playgrounds
In an age where physical activity is of the greatest importance, allowing children to play outside is an excellent idea. However, depending on the area in which a family might live, adults are often reluctant to let their children play outside. In these instances, children’s playgrounds are fantastic: they are usually gated, which increases their safety as children are given an allotted area in which to play.
However, many councils are increasingly looking at shutting playgrounds down, or even making them semi-privatised so locals in the area or estate are forced to pay to enable their opening. Children’s play areas are also vulnerable to vandals, whether local youths or adults, who may be inclined to deface or misuse the equipment. The cleaning of such areas is another expense which councils are often reluctant to pay, particularly with the financial strain on local services which is becoming increasingly pronounced. However, one need only look at the use of playgrounds during holidays, weekends, and periods of good weather to know that they are much in demand.
Modern playground equipment is also a must. The outdoor nature of such play equipment means that it is exposed to the elements and as such will wear more quickly than that in a gym or other indoor exercise area. The vulnerability of children, particularly if they are very young, means that such equipment needs constant checking and upgrading. However, high quality, metal playground equipment, which isn’t dated and requires minimal repainting, will often last for years and be massively entertaining for children to come.
Maintain green spaces
It’s not only the playground which requires funding and attention: green spaces of all kinds require similar maintenance. Green spaces are especially used by dog walkers, who might otherwise be forced to use local pavements (which poses its own hygienic risk). Parks are often used by runners and other exercise enthusiasts, and for larger venues Park Runs have become extremely popular.
In cities, green spaces are practically a necessity, and have been proven to promote positive mental health. Again, the maintenance of green spaces — planting and grass cutting in particular — requires money and means that such spaces are often badly kept. Such spaces often require regular cleaning. Trash and dog fouling are two major sources of environmental trashing which pose a particular hazard to health.
It is necessary to ensure that the spaces which we have are kept in a good state, through the efforts of both professional cleaning and a good positive attitude in the community which prevents the occurrence of such trashing in the first place.