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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 23:52 GMT 00:52 UK
Children just want to chill out
boys playing football
Children say they like the sense of independence
Children say they would rather be at a friend's house or on the streets or just at home than taking part in organised activities during the summer holiday.

They look forward to "being with friends" and "just hanging around".

The least popular haunts would be youth clubs - but they are all in favour of "chill out rooms".

These are among the findings of a survey of more than 2,000 seven to 15 year olds across the UK carried out last month by Save the Children and British Gas.

Friend's house: 51%
At home: 38%
The street: 38%
Leisure/sports centres: 20%
Youth clubs: 10%
What they valued most was being with their friends and having the freedom to do what they wanted, away from adults.

Save the Children says policy makers should aim to reflect that sense of independence when providing facilities aimed at youngsters.

Nothing to do: 36%
Gangs: 34%
Too many drugs/drunks: 34%
Too much traffic: 24%
No money: 23%
The survey suggests the children themselves are open to consultation. Half of the younger boys, in particular, felt they did have the power to improve things.

But young people clearly also find "the street" could be a threatening or at least unpleasant place in terms of gangs, drugs and traffic.

They mentioned a range of things they would like to see in their local areas.

Some of the most common requests were for football pitches, swimming pools closer to where they lived, skateboarding parks and bike tracks, and safe places to hang out without being hassled by adults.

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