Youth disco to counter summer party craze

John Faragher, one of the organisers of a disco for under 18s

John Faragher, one of the organisers of a disco for under 18s

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In response to the spate of impromptu open air parties being organised on Facebook by youths around the island, an under 18s disco is being held in Port St Mary town hall on Friday.

The party craze of organising last-minute events via Facebook has attracted scores of young people to gatherings.

One was held in Castletown’s Poulsom Park, where several party goers were inebriated and fights broke out. A youth’s jaw was fractured, the police were called and disbanded the group.

Other parties – one inviting children as young as 13 to bring alcohol and a tent to an site in the Douglas area – was stopped by police.

On Facebook, the police issued a statement to parents, asking them: ‘Do you know where your child is tonight?’

Disco organisers Lee Wright and John Faragher, both DJs, decided to join forces and organise the Port St Mary event.

John said: ‘It’s something for younger people to have fun in a safe, controlled environment. With the problems there have been recently and the weather being so nice there has been nothing for the under 18s for a while.

‘It’s about providing things for kids that do not or cannot be bothered finding out what’s going on – you have to spoon feed them.

‘There were parties when I was young, but you might have five or 10 kids. Because of access to communication there are bigger events now.’

In addition to being a DJ, John, a Douglas councillor, former Onchan commissioner and youth worker, also set up the free running gymnastics club.

Lee is a police officer and the event has the backing of the local constabulary.

‘It’s policing with a small “p”. We will search all bags and if there is alcohol, it will all be confiscated,’ said John.

‘If kids are drunk they will not be allowed to come in, the police will be called and they will be dealt with.

‘We want them to have a good time, we want to give them the opportunity to have a good night out without breaking the law or getting into trouble and their parents having to come and pick them up.

‘’We are not going to be sergeant majors, we want to make sure they are safe. Safety first and fun comes second.’

In an email to John about the event, local police Sergeant Gary Heaton wrote: ‘It has the massive plus for us that we will know where our young people are and as an organised event it also keeps them safe as opposed to wandering the streets.’

The disco is from 7.30pm to midnight. Tickets, at £2.50, are available at Memory Lane, Castletown, or Erin News, Port Erin.

To see details and request particular music be played at the disco, see the Facebook page: ‘Energize end of skool summer party’.

For updates and ticket availability, ‘like’ the Facebook page or phone 417119.

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