New scheme to keep teens safe

The initiative is being run by Clevedon's YMCA

The initiative is being run by Clevedon's YMCA - Credit: supplied

TROUBLED teens or youngsters simply looking for advice are being targeted as part of a new initiative by Clevedon’s YMCA.

It began on Friday night and sees staff and volunteers from the Marson Road facility out and about in the town at spots popular with groups of youths.

They will do this every Friday evening for the foreseeable future to provide an adult presence on the streets while also offering support to any youngsters who need it.

Those from the YMCA will be working with the town’s PCSOs as well as Clevedon School as part of their detached work, which they hope will decrease antisocial behaviour and keep youngsters safe when out in the evening.

YMCA youth worker Neil Wylie said: “We have dozens of young people who come through our doors on a weekly basis, but there are still some who won’t come to our youth groups.

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“These young people still have issues which they need support with, but may not have an adult they trust or can approach.

“We are not a policing role on the streets, but hope to provide a safe presence in Clevedon on a night which can be marred by antisocial behaviour and young people putting themselves in unsafe situations.

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“A lot of young people will go along with what is going on – we are there for anyone who wants a safe adult they can look to if anything goes wrong. If they have maybe lost their friends, if they are upset or maybe if they have drank too much.”

Also as part of the detached programme, YMCA staff and volunteers have began visiting Clevedon School at lunchtimes to provide a listening ear for any youngsters who may have an issue they want to talk about.

Neil added: “We are bridging the gap between teachers and peer listeners as well as providing an extra presence in the playground.

“We hope to build on the existing relationships we have, and build new ones with young people who haven’t engaged with the YMCA before.”

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