Southwark Soapbox: Residents shocked by ‘astonishing’ lack of services for young people in Newington ward
“Six hours a week after all! It’s ridiculous!”
“Six hours a week!”
“It’s less than a shift!” »
Here are some of the reactions from our focus groups upon learning of the short hours of operation at the Brandon Estate Youth Center, which has hundreds of homes and many vulnerable young people.
- The News has since investigated what was going on at the youth center – see article below
Exclusive: “It looks like a juvenile detention center!” – Residents say lights are out at youth center on estate troubled by knife crime
There are few public amenities in the area: the Jack Hobbs Center, a facility for everyone on the estate, is also closed most days, and an adventure playground near the Newington Estate is closed for renovation until next year.
When asked why Labor is struggling to keep valuable community spaces open in Newington, Labor candidate John Batteson struggled to answer. He said how important it was for youngsters to stay active, citing his own experience as a footballer, and said school and other activities were also vital.
Southwark Soapbox: How would parties help keep our streets safe?
Ola grimaced as she heard Mr Batteson’s response, visibly grimacing when she heard him defend his party saying youth activities ‘don’t all have to go through one youth centre’.
Neil was less interested in politics. “Could it be just incompetent people running this thing? Could this be the reason why? That they’re just lazy and incompetent?
Southwark Soapbox: Labor and Liberal Democrats blame each other for cuts
Clare Wood, Green Party candidate, said it was surprising how little the youth center was open, pointing to the large number of young people in the neighborhood left without readily available activities.
Mr Batteson said he didn’t know much about the timing of the Frederick Playground renovation, merely repeating his well-worn point that it was important for young people to have things to do.
- The News found out what was happening at the playground see the article below
Asbestos-contaminated children’s playground won’t reopen until late 2023
At this point, Liberal Democrat candidate Abdul Gbla accused him of spouting clichés.
“You can clearly tell by the three of us here who is the politician and who is here with the sound bites,” he said. “I mean, come on, mate, you talked about this and that, this and that, but you still haven’t answered the question.”
“Ooh, they get a little fiery, don’t they,” said Brandon Estate resident Kym.
Southwark Soapbox: Our Newington Residents Share Their Crime Horror Stories
But when asked what the Lib Dems would do in power, Mr Gbla struggled to answer, simply repeating that the three community spaces “really need to be looked at”.
Ola, a resident of Brandon Estate, gave him little thought. “So what would be his own solution then?” Because he didn’t say anything important and he’s accusing someone else of not answering the question! Nice.”
- NOTE – The News would like to clarify that despite repeated requests throughout our filming, the Southwark Conservative Party refused to join our proceedings
Why you should vote on May 5and?
- Your board makes important decisions and is responsible for a wide range of things that affect your daily life – from building housing and its location, to closing roads to cars, and keeping the streets clean and orderly.
- Individual the advisors in your region are also there to help you with the problems you present to them.
- Southwark Council has been controlled by the Labor Party since 2010. Some 48 out of 63 councilors are from the Labor Party. Fourteen others are Liberal Democrats, and there is one adviser who is independent. There are no Conservative or Green Party advisers at the moment, although people from both parties are showing up in May.
- Local elections normally take place every four years. Elections to choose new councilors for Southwark will take place on May 5 this year. You vote by ward – the area you live in – for the candidates you want to run for. Depending on the ward, there are two or three councilors to choose from.
- Any UK or EU adult living in the UK, or any Commonwealth adult authorized to stay in the UK can vote, provided they register.
- You can find your advisers on the Southwark Council website by searching online for ‘find Southwark advisers’. Or CLICK HERE to find your advisor
- You must be registered to vote by 11:59 p.m. on April 14. Register to vote here.