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Teenagers feel "trapped" in Hadleigh and Claydon, Porch Project warns

PUBLISHED: 08:31 10 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 10 June 2017

Youngsters at the Porch Project in Hadleigh, which supports youngsters aged 11-20. Picture: SIMON LEE

Youngsters at the Porch Project in Hadleigh, which supports youngsters aged 11-20. Picture: SIMON LEE

Simon Lee Photography

A fresh drive to tackle anti-social behaviour in Hadleigh and Claydon will kick off next month, after a youth project has reported that youngsters feel "trapped" in the two areas.

Youth workers at the Porch Project in Hadleigh, have reported that a lot of anti-social behaviour from teenagers stems from boredom. Picture: PORCH PROJECTYouth workers at the Porch Project in Hadleigh, have reported that a lot of anti-social behaviour from teenagers stems from boredom. Picture: PORCH PROJECT

Suffolk Constabulary officers have been tackling the long-running issue of anti-social behaviour, which is largely based around some youngsters in the parks, and includes drug-taking, alcohol use and littering.

As officers expect the issue to be more prevalent over the summer months, a new operation has been lined up.

Sergeant Jo Miah from Hadleigh safer neighbourhood team, said: “Hadleigh SNT have an operation planned in early July where we will be working with the proactive team to target specific areas where we believe there is ASB and drug use. The team are also notified if there are large amounts of litter in the parks which includes broken bottles.

“There have not been many calls to police relating to anti-social behaviour but comments have been seen on social media sites and it is paramount that reports are made as this will help us focus our patrols and allocate the appropriate resources to the areas which are causing concern and harm to the community.”

As part of the police’s work, a dedicated officer has been visiting schools to speak to youngsters about key issues such as drug use, cyber-bullying, road safety and child sexual exploitation.

Crucially, pupils are also able to raise concerns in lunch break visits by the officer.

Police are also working alongside the Porch Project – a scheme to help youngsters aged 11-20 with social, physical, mental and educational wellbeing through a host of activities.

“We go into parks and try and connect with young people,” said Zach Corrie, youth worker with the Porch Project.

“We try and be out as much as possible when young people are out of school because if you build up a good relationship the levels of respect rise and anti-social behaviour is less likely.”

The project has noted a drop in anti-social issues in recent months, but recognise that Hadleigh’s isolated nature can be tough for teenagers.

Mr Corrie added: “A lot of it does stem from boredom, which is why we do as much as we can.

“Hadleigh is a very small place where a lot of young people do feel trapped, so that’s why we aim for something to do for them.”

To find out more about activities from the Porch Project, visit the website here.

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