Remember that long summer break when you were at secondary school?
How those six weeks away from your friends used to stretch out like an eternity?
Lazy days, hanging around, twiddling your thumbs and dreaming up ways to get into mischief.
Well, for teenagers in Fareham and Whiteley this summer looks set to fly by, as a host of activities have been organised by Fareham’s Community Safety Partnership.
In a bid to banish anti-social behaviour, anybody between the ages of 11 and 17 can join in with three weeks of activities.
The scheme, called Access All Areas, includes dozens of fun activities from archery to rugby, cake decorating to hair braiding, DJ workshops to henna tattoos – there really is something for everyone.
And more importantly, there is nothing to pay. It’s all been put on for free so that young people have something fun to do, to keep them out of trouble and get them off the sofa.
Narinder Bains, the community safety manager in charge of Access All Areas, says: ‘It’s really exciting. Everybody I talk to at the moment says that they have seen this everywhere and that was our intention – to paint the town blue.’
Blue posters have been dotted around Fareham and the team have been visiting schools to explain the scheme.
Access All Areas follows a successful pilot last year, called Passport.
Narinder explains, ‘We proved last year that we reduced anti-social behaviour from the year before and we want to make sure that downward trend continues and that we can maintain it over the holidays.’
The Fareham Community Safety Partnership decided to really go to town on this year’s activities.
It has collaborated with the police, the fire brigade, supermarkets, sports clubs, youth clubs, basically everybody who can offer something to that age range.
It has received sponsorship from local businesses and used some of the council’s community safety fund, but it also received £5,000 from the police and crime commissioner, who match-funded the project.
‘There’s a real local feel, a real community feel, everybody wants to be part of it,’ says Narinder.
The three weeks of activities come to a grand finale in Whiteley, which is a focus for the Fareham Community Safety Partnership after it was highlighted as a hotspot for teenage trouble, due to a lack of youth activities.
The festival, called Whestival, will be held at the Meadowside Leisure Centre.
Narinder explains, ‘We have got the local police teams doing skate and BMX jams, there will be music and a barbecue, laser quest, lots of fun activities.
‘How I have been explaining it is, you might have been too young to attend Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight festival, but you can come along to the next best thing. You can come down to Whestival and have that experience and really enjoy yourselves.
‘There will be bands and great music from our DJ, Small Paul.’
Young people can simply turn up. As long as they either fill in a form on the day or bring a completed one, they can join in with the fun.
The only activities which need parental consent are scuba diving and sailing.
‘We want to make sure everyone has the ability to take part in the activities,’ says Narinder.
‘We went to Portchester School and they are a fully inclusive school with some wheelchair users and we have promised them a little VIP area for Whestival so that they can come down and enjoy the music and the activities.
‘We are making sure that things like T-shirt design, cake decorating and things like the DJ workshops are accessible to everyone and all young people can come along and enjoy themselves.’
THANKS to the support of a supermarket, there will be a barbecue sizzling away every day.
Asda has not only donated the meat, but it is also donating community champion Sharon Noble’s time, who will be volunteering each day.
Sharon helped out at last year’s trial and says she can’t wait to take part again.
‘I’ve learned to do hair wrapping, T-shirt printing, all sorts of stuff. I think it’s brilliant, they are all eager and they can’t wait to get involved.
‘I just think it’s great, it gives them things to do and gives them a chance to all meet up.’
Asda is sponsoring the barbecue and will be cooking sausages and burgers everyday.
‘It’s great for Asda to be able to support this and get behind it,’ says Sharon.
TEENAGERS with an interest in sport can give a rugby trial a try.
Fareham Heathens RFC are hoping to recruit some new talent.
The coaches will be running training sessions, culminating in a game of touch rugby at the end of each day.
Chairman Mark Dunning says: ‘We’re always looking for players of all ages, all sexes and abilities, so we might get some budding Jonny Wilkinsons or Chris Robshaws coming along.’
Mark hopes that the teenagers will take away some of the core values of rugby - team work, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship
Mark says: ‘With rugby it’s not only about the playing, it’s about behaviour. You learn all these other life skills that come with playing in a team. It’s all about the team, that respect and understanding people with different views.’
FIRE AND POLICE
RESPECT for the fire brigade and police is something that Fareham’s Community Safety Partnership is keen to encourage and develop.
Members of the fire brigade and police will be meeting and chatting to the youngsters each day and offering practical support and advice on how to stay safe.
They will be bringing along specially-adapted ‘beer goggles’ which help explain the dangers of drink driving.
PCSO Ann Adams will be talking about the dangers of firearms and knives and others will be talking about bullying.
Fire station manager Paul Coates said: ‘For the emergency services, it’s really important that we talk to young people and build up relationships. Because we have real stories we can talk about, they listen to us.’
FOR young people thinking of a career in the armed forces, there can be no better place to start than Military Mentors.
Military Mentors are made up of ex-British forces men and women who have had successful military careers and are now utilising their expertise to inspire teenagers.
At Access All Areas, Military Mentors will be putting on assault courses, press-up challenges, water challenges and giving an introduction to the military, and advice on how to apply.
Managing director Tony West says, ‘It’s all about structure, goals and role models and the kids seem to like that.
‘Access All Areas is mutually beneficial. A lot of these kids have got a lot of energy and nowhere to get rid of it.
‘A lot of the youngsters have never been praised, or clapped before, or even encouraged before, it’s sad. We try to encourage them.’
Military Mentors runs courses and provides alternative provision for school pupils who struggle with traditional academic environments.
The group meets at Westfield House, Bath Lane in Fareham. For more information call 07856 975376.
DJ SMALL PAUL
A FAMILIAR face to anybody who has been to a Snap disco in the last seven years, DJ Small Paul will be passing on his skills through a series of workshops.
As well as the DJ workshops where youngsters can get their hands on his decks, he will be creating a party atmosphere by playing music throughout the day and at the grand final festival, Whestival.
‘Young people have an interest in all types of music, and the technology these days allows me to take whatever they have and show them how they can do with the technology and make it more interesting for them,’ says DJ Small Paul.
‘It’s not just about a certain type of music.
‘We have all sorts – Justin Bieber mixed with Skrillex, anything they can think of they can have a go.’
There will be open decks, where DJ Small Paul will be coaching budding DJs.
‘You always hear young people saying “there’s nothing to do” and “I’m so bored” so it is really brilliant that this is going on and there’s something for them to do. And it’s free, that’s even better.
‘I’m really looking forward to it.’
Activities take place from 11am until 3pm each day.
· Monday, July 29 - Cams Alders Recreational Ground, Fareham
· Tuesday, July 30 - Locks Heath District Centre
· Wednesday, July 31 - Salterns Park, Hill Head
· Monday, August 5 - Castle Shore Park, Portchester Castle
· Tuesday, August 6 - Fareham Park Recreation Ground, Henry Cort, Fareham
· Wednesday, August 7 - Titchfield Recreation Ground, Mill Lane, Titchfield
· Monday, August 12 - Stubbington Recreation Ground, Bells Lane
· Tuesday, August 13 - Locks Heath Football Club, Warsash Road, Titchfield Common
· Wednesday, August 14 - Whestival at Meadowside Leisure Centre, Whiteley
HOW TO REGISTER
LOOK out for the leaflets which are being handed out at schools or pick one up at the Civic Offices in Fareham.
Alternatively, go online and register at saferfareham.co.uk.
There is no need to preregister, just turn up and you can fill in a form there.
For more information email the Community Safety Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01329 824496.