Children losing out
SCHOOLCHILDREN in our borough do not get enough exercise and are afraid to travel on public transport, according to a council report. The facilities and activities for young people scrutiny panel expressed concern last week that Barking and Dagenham doe
SCHOOLCHILDREN in our borough do not get enough exercise and are afraid to travel on public transport, according to a council report.
The facilities and activities for young people scrutiny panel expressed concern last week that Barking and Dagenham does not match up to national figures.
Lower than the average amount of primary and secondary pupils exercise for 30 minutes a day, while the number of youngsters feeling unsafe on buses and trains is much higher.
Many young people cited personal safety as a major reason why they do not travel to attend youth clubs and other activities.
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A report was commissioned after thousands of families said children's activities were a top priority.
Lead member for the scrutiny panel, Cllr John White, said: "I feel confident that we will rise to meet these challenges, with the help of young people themselves.
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"I trust that the recommendations put forward will assist those responsible for delivering facilities and activities within the borough, leading to even better provision for children and young people."
Many youngsters feel improvements are needed to make the borough a better place to live and students on School Councils were given the chance to contribute to the council's report.
Several steps have already been taken towards providing more for teenagers to do after school.
The successful Longbridge Youth Club, set up by PC Graham Mann, now caters for over 100 youngsters.
At least nine youth clubs will be set up over the next two years based on this model and it is hoped every ward will soon have its own club.
Transport for London (TfL) has several schemes aimed at young people in Barking and Dagenham.
Programmes such as; "Now You See Me, Now You Don't", "The Price" and "Wasted" were set up to educate about road safety and help primary pupils cope with moving to secondary school.
However the panel is "concerned" that we are one of only four London boroughs without a Junior Safety and Citizenship Scheme.
This provides free transport education to all schools, promoting safety and responsible travel.
Council officers and panel members recommended a building be found for the scheme to take place.