Latest press release from Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, issued on Friday, May 17th 2019…
Social Democrat’s Spokesperson for Children and Greystones Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore has today welcomed the launch of her Party’s Community Recreation Manifesto for Local Government, aimed at creating more dedicated and imaginative services and amenities for young people.
“My experience working with parents on the South Beach Playground Committee was a highlight for me as it resulted in the kind of creative and imaginative facility we are talking about when it comes to catering to the needs of young people in our local communities.
“However, I believe that all local councils must up their game when it comes to play, sport and recreational amenities for young people, who make up a third of the population. I believe that older children have been left without recreational facilities or even a safe place to hang out in the evenings. This has come up quite a lot on the doors when canvassing around Greystones, Kilcoole and Newtownmountkennedy. We need to start looking at creating more of these spaces for a wider cohort of the younger population. I know there is a youth cafe being set up in Greystones, and that is a very welcome development. But I believe that more is needed.
“To address this gap, I have been campaigning for a youth centre to be set up near the new primary school being built in Charlesland. There is a large population of young teens and older children in this area and a youth centre would provide a safe space for them that they could call their own. They need to feel part of the community and this is one way we could establish that. It would also help counter premature drinking and potential antisocial behaviour which I believe comes from that sense of detachment from a community which fails to provide amenities designed with them in mind.
“Young people have the energy and they have great ideas, we just need to facilitate them so that those ideas can become a reality and benefit the rest of Wicklow’s younger population. Just the other day I got talking to teenagers who had a great idea for a bike track in Greystones and who were willing to work with me to see the project come to fruition. I would love to see that happen.
Whitmore continued, “Wicklow Council could help facilitate these ideas by maximising existing Council resources like empty or underused buildings, making schools available for after-hours community use, and making the most of council community and sports support workers. We need to maximise the funding of community facilities, such as swimming pools, skate parks and robust activity areas through the Sports Capital Programme as well. Not only will young people benefit from more parks, community centres, allotments and green spaces, practically everyone will benefit from these initiatives and bring together a sense of community for everyone.
“I will continue to push for more recreational spaces for young people including imaginative alternatives for those who don’t engage in mainstream sports and activities and would encourage Wicklow County Council to take on board the Social Democrat’s Manifesto launched this week” concludes Whitmore.