Board to discuss sites for youths’ shelter

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Suitable sites for a youth shelter in Port Erin will be discussed by the local authority and youth services.

Last week, June 18, commissioner Barbara Guy brought up the subject of a youth shelter after attending the latest Rushen Youth Action Group meeting.

She said the lower promenade was discussed as a possible site because youths already gather in the shelters there and it can be policed, unlike an area like Athol Park.

She added there are plans for ‘a youth cafe’ to open at the Whistlestop cafe one Friday a month.

Chairman Lorna MacKellar asked why the youth club is not involved.

Mrs Guy said: ‘Kids need a new concept, it’s not cool to go to a youth club, if they had their own drop in cafe it is more trendy. A youth club is so last century.’

Clerk Jason Roberts explained when first discussed shelters, some called ‘pumpkins’ were investigated, they each cost a ‘five figure’ sum, are solar-powered with blue tooth and wi-fi, volume controlled and time control (so can’t be used after a certain time). Given the cost, consideration was then given to installing the technology in existing shelters.

There are six sets of equipment that can be installed in existing shelters around the island – one of them in Port Erin.

Ms MacKellar questioned the policing currently of the shelters on the lower promenade, where residents report anti-social behaviour.

Nick Watterson asked how much of an ‘amenity’ a shelter would be and said: ‘I am not sure how great it will be if it will be a problem. What is the point if kids listen to music on head phones anyway?’

Mrs Guy said: ‘It’s giving them something else.’

Ged Power proposed they discuss the issue – and the ‘acceptability’ of a similar shelter already being used in Anagh Cooar - with youth services in Douglas.

He was seconded by Mrs Guy.

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