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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK
Youths 'bored in school holidays'
Teenagers - generic
Many teenagers say they get bored in the school holidays
Thousands of teenagers could be wandering the streets over the summer holidays because they have nowhere else to go, a charity has warned.

The 4Children charity found 80% of the 16,000 youngsters surveyed said they had nothing to do outside of school.

And 70% said young people became involved in anti-social behaviour and petty crime because they were bored.

The charity is calling for a national programme of UK youth centres, to provide dedicated space for teenagers.

The charity's report - Make space for youth review - says such centres would give young people the opportunity to socialise and give them access to music, the creative arts, sports facilities, extra classes and specialist support.

We need to create a new generation of services for older children
Anne Longfield, 4Children

It also recommends parents be given the right to request flexible working arrangements, with intensive involvement and support made available for those with troubled teenagers.

Other recommendations include intervention teams to work in areas of high deprivation, action on bullying and a new support scheme for young crime victims.

The review also calls for free public transport and leisure for all under-18s.

The year-long investigation found 60% of young people in deprived areas had been victims of crime in their community.

More than 70% of 11 to 16-year-olds had witnessed anti-social behaviour in the last year, while 12% belonged to a gang.

The findings will be presented to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

'Dispossessed generation'

"Growing up can be tough and we are simply not doing enough to help the next generation to flourish," said broadcaster and former MP Oona King, who chaired the review.

"On average we spend 17p for each young person per day on youth services and this has to change.

"Young people need to be a part of our communities and not doing this costs us billions, dealing with the consequences of anti-social behaviour, crime and violence and even more in the emotional consequences of a dispossessed generation of teenagers."

Chief executive of 4Children Anne Longfield said: "The Youth Review has discovered an extraordinary consensus with over 16,000 teenagers telling us that many of them feel neglected, bored and without opportunity outside school.

"We need to create a new generation of services for older children with high quality opportunities around youth centres in every neighbourhood linked in to specialist help for those who need it - a Sure Start approach for older children.

"The teenage years are a crucial stage of development when strong and sometimes negative pathways into adulthood and life chances are formed, and in many cases set."

Children's minister, Beverley Hughes, said that "giving young people positive things to do and places to go, especially in the most deprived communities, is a real priority for this government - that's why we will soon be publishing a 10 year youth strategy.

"We know that young people themselves are the most likely to be victims of anti-social behaviour and this needs to be tackled. We've already put £115m directly into the hands of young people, resulting in 650,000 benefiting from new activities and places to go."


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Youths on the streets of Ilfracombe



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