The vandalism of the young childrens play area in Resolven, this week, is obviously unacceptable. Especially when it results in depriving the younger children from enjoying these facilities. As a parent bringing up two young children in Resolven, I find this news discerning to say the least. However, I also find the comments of Resolven Community Council Chairman equally discerning.
By declaring that,
“It makes you feel that it is not worth trying to do anything for young people”simply puts the attitude of the Community Council into context. To stereotype ALL young people in this manner is not going to help the situation – indeed, it will only make matters worse.
We must not give up on the younger generations of society. They are, after all, our future. In order to address these problems we must look at causality and certainly not administer collective punishment. Those that choose to abuse these facilities, provided by the council, should be punished and punished hard - but in the court. Unfortunately, since police resources are already overstretched, prosecuting these troublemakers is unlikely. A fitting punishment, if caught, would be a community order to clean up the mess and destruction that they have caused.
There is a depth of feeling with our younger generation at present. Sometimes it requires a degree of empathy in understanding causality in these circumstances. Put yourself in the shoes of a 16-20 year old growing up in Resolven and then ask yourself the following questions…….
1. What am I going to do for a job? There’s very little job opportunity in Resolven!
2. What am I going to do in my spare time? There’s nowhere to go, for people of my age, in Resolven……I suppose there’s always the pub!
3. Where am I going to Live? There’s no chance of getting a mortgage………Tens of thousands of pounds outside my price range! Can’t even afford to rent property!
The answers to the questions above are actual responses from 16 – 20 year old youths that I have spoken to in Resolven.
If the Community Council would simply engage with the younger generation, rather than criticise from afar, then they would understand these concerns and begin to address some of them. I do not intend to condone what has happened at the Resolven play area, but we do need to address the root cause of the problem rather than condemn the problem itself. The cause of the problem can be summed up in one sentence:
Social deprivation coupled with low self-esteem, caused by a lack of prospects and hope.
A promise to tackle this issue was one of the main reasons why the Labour Government is in power today. Remember the world famous quote,
“Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime!”almost a distant memory now. The stark reality is that the Valley Communities have been utterly neglected by the Government. The people of Blaenau Gwent realised this soon enough and dealt the Government a bloody nose at the recent by-elections.
How long before the rest of the valley communities follow suit?
- Richie Northcote