Playing active together

There is lot of things that folks do around here. And it seems that they are trying to do bad all the time, but they are not. There are a lot of kids hanging around here, around street corners doing nothing because there is no parks, no community centres. No activities for kids to get involved in, activities specifically focussed at where they want to be. I mean the amount of sports activities that are aimed at kids that they can afford, is next to non-existent. I mean the WHEC do a sterling job, but they can only take so many. Em, football pitches have been allowed to go to waste and nobody is using them. So you get groups of young kids, say 17/18, hanging about.  But there is stacks and stacks of spaces down here. There is not really a community centre as such. The Health Agency shut by 7. The Youth Agency shut when they feel like it.  Nobody is standing up to say; well kids need something to do from 5 o’clock to 8 o’clock every night of the week.

So WHALE, we’ve got street arts, which is once a week. And kids can do spray painting, street dancing, drama, wherever with kids, where they are in the streets and it is working well. But Whale is teaching kids how to do spray painting or street dance. They asked the kids what they want to do. They asked a group of kids up the road there, just near the football pitch what they wanted. And they said they wanted the astro turf, or something sorted for the base as it is all been burnt, ripped up and it really needs sorted. It needs redeveloped and the older kids, sort of 17 to 20, did it up, did the work and then helped look after it. And, so now there are folks helping to look for funding to put the astro turf and stuff like that. The kids up the road wanted a street park, and that’s in the Calders and that’s being looked into. We went to the Council and the Council said: “Well there’s a plan for the park any way. We will start building in it”. That will get the kids active. It is amazing how getting the kids active can do to kids’ imagination. I mean it promotes mental and physical health. Also it forces kids without realising it to make friends. So they learn to talk to one another. They learn to play together. And if you can play together then you can work together.

So, then that should make school slightly easier but also makes them active. So you’ve got this big push for eradicating obesity thing in children at the moment. But the way to do that, is provide activities or things to do that promote fitness without actually taking them in it. I mean schools promote free foods so the kids will come home with a bag of fruit on a Friday. Em, the meals have been changed so they get a balanced diet at school now. So they get a varied diet on a four weekly rota. So everyday is different over a week. You have kids going on the activities, without realising it, keeping fit. The exercises are fun. And as they go out and have fun and exercise, it gives the parents peace to do what they need to do and relax, which then makes your brain better, mentally fit and less stress, and if you want to, walk into the park with your kids or walk to pick them up. If that’s the only exercise you do two or three days a week, you are starting to promote healthy exercise among parents who otherwise might have not went outside their door. And I have always said if you can bring kids to anything; a building, a group, an event, you will bring adults. If you can entice the kids and make them engage, then the parents can start to do it. It builds confidence among parents. So you’ve got to engage kids first because the adults will come along. But that is one agency out of seven in the local area that could do a similar thing. But it means doing like the football pitch up the road or building an outdoor basketball pitch built. But they are not even thinking about it that, that place is derelict and kids play in it. But however, clean it, get adults to manage it and the kids will use it. Get something such as basketball, whatever put in it. Then get them to do something in it, and take them off the streets. And adults can teach the kids. But it doesn’t seem to be that. So people just go away, shut their windows if kids are hanging around and leave them to it. So the kids get a bad name. Some end up in jail or drugs or prison or whatever. So it is bit like the bullying. So you get to intervene at an early stage.

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