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Worried Dover parents campaign for new youth hub as 'county lines' drug problem spreads

Contributed by editor on Sep 14, 2018 - 01:30 PM

 

Charlie Elphicke meets with Dover parents

 

Worried parents of troubled youngsters from Dover are on the lookout for buildings in the town centre area for a new youth hub.


The Families United campaign has been backed by MP Charlie Elphicke, who is also trying to help secure funding for the project.

 

Hang out

The group wants to hire space where young people can hang out after school to “keep them off the streets”. They would like to provide seating, speakers and games and keep the hub open between 4pm and 9pm seven days a week.

 

Drug dealers - 'county lines' concerns

The campaign comes amid growing concerns over ‘county lines’, where drug dealers from urban areas target young people in regional towns to run their operations.

Charlie said: “County lines has become a real problem. Police are cracking down on it – but as a community we have to play a part as well.

 

Families United

“I have met with Families United a few times now and really want to help them with their project. First of all we need a suitable location for the hub.”

Jackie McAllister, spokesman for Families United, said: “If kids have activities that are right for them they will make it their own space and show respect.

“There's not very much for kids to do in Dover so a lot of them just hang out in Pencester Gardens.

"Problems with teenagers or younger children can happen to any family, regardless of background, and they are usually supported by social services or other outside agencies.

"But the support ends at 5pm on Friday and doesn't start until 9am on a Monday.”

 

St Giles Trust

Families United has also been working closely with the London-based St Giles Trust, a charity which trains people who have already overcome disadvantages to help other troubled youngsters.

Charlie met with St Giles caseworkers, who were working with Dover youngsters as part of a pilot scheme until September funded by the Home Office.

He spoke to Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott, who has agreed to take over funding until at least April, while a bid for further funding is made to the Home Office intervention fund.

 

Real results

Charlie said: “Families United were clear the St Giles team were getting real results. I was very impressed myself after meeting them.

“So I asked Matthew Scott to keep funding their work. I am delighted he has managed to do so. Yet again he has shown real foresight and leadership.”

Families United has asked anyone with suitable space in the Dover town centre area to contact them on familiesunited2018@gmail.com  or Charlie Elphicke's office on charlie.elphicke.mp@parliament.uk

 

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