Select Committee on Communities and Local Government Committee Second Report



Dr Phyllis Starkey MP (Chair)

Lyn Brown MP

Mr Greg Hands MP

Dr John Pugh MP

Nigel Cross (Thanet Youth Council Officer)

Kirra Contento (Thanet Youth Council)

Robert Ward (Charles Dickens School)

Jameelah Bowden (Charles Dickens School)

Mat Hayes (Hereson School)

Alex Fitzjohn (Hereson School)

Dan Parkinson (Hereson School)

Kyle Daniel (Hereson School)

Zak Bowra (Hereson School)

The Chair opened the meeting by outlining the purpose of the Committee's inquiry.

General points

The general view expressed by the young people was that there is not much for them to do in Margate in evenings or at weekends. The lack of any kind of youth centre or sports facilities meant that young people generally stayed home or hung around on street corners, which led to the possibility of drinking and fights.

Miss Contento said that the local council had organised summer activities, including bowling, skating and mountain biking, which had proved popular and been well attended, but that the funding was not available to do this all year round.

Job opportunities

The group from Hereson School said that most young people in and around the town expected to move away when they left school, not least because of job opportunities. There was plenty of manual labour around, particularly in the building trade, but few, if any, opportunities for office work. Most would think about living in London.

There were summertime jobs available for their age group. Several said they would consider staying in the area if better-quality jobs were available. They felt pushed to go elsewhere in search of work. Two of the Hereson group had moved into the area from Bradford and Huddersfield: each felt their previous home had had more to offer people their age, and each intended to move away.


The Hereson group said that weed was the most easily-and pretty easily-obtainable drug. Harder drugs were less prevalent. They believed that most drugs arrived in the area from London.


One of the group also said the local police could spend more time trying to deal with local drug sales; at present, particularly on weekends, too much of their time was spent dealing with routine trouble, such as street fights. Indeed, there was a general feeling that the police were not sufficiently visible. There was a general feeling that Margate, in particular among local towns, was a trouble spot. None of the group had themselves been beaten up, but several knew people who had.

Absence of youth facilities

The pupils from Charles Dickens school said that there was little to do in town at weekends, which were spent largely phoning friends, meeting in the town, or watching television or doing coursework at home.

One of the Hereson group said that things were easier for younger people in the summer because of the beach—"but you can't go there every day".

Relationship with older people

On relationships with older people, one of the Hereson group suggested younger people tended to be branded as bad apples on the basis of isolated incidents.


Asked how many of them intended to go on to university, three of the eight put their hands up.

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