A politicians’ cliché

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I DO not live on the Wick estate and I do not attend, or have a child that attends, the Keystone Centre.

If I did live on the estate, I would take some exception to the various descriptions given to it in the article “Youth leaders prepare for further service cuts” (Gazette, October 6) and other articles such as “area of social deprivation”, etc.

My own experience is that the vast majority of residents are decent, hard-working and caring people. Naturally, times are hard for many families as with anywhere else. As far as I can see there is no real definition of an “area of social deprivation”. It just seems to be a handy cliché for politicians who wish to add weight to their views on any given subject.

If I were one of the youngsters attending the Keystone Centre, or the parent of one, I would take the greatest exception to councillor Mike Northeast’s comments that its closure or reduction in hours will inevitably lead to an increase in crime. I was a leader with the Sea Scouts in Lineside Way for almost 20 years. I was not paid and, indeed, spent a fair amount of my own money while I was there. We had a large membership and were justifiably proud of our many achievements. However, I certainly did not think for one moment that, but for our efforts, our members would be involved in crime or disorder.

Indeed, I would suggest that the overwhelming majority of young people who are members of any youth organisation are not those who would otherwise engage in anti-social activities.

The sad reality is that the current financial climate has resulted in casualties, both individuals and groups. That is a fact of life and no amount of whingeing from politicians of any party will change it. There are very many organisations for young people in this area. Most rely on leaders who give their time and money freely because they enjoy what they do. To imply that their members are potential criminals is, to say the least, somewhat unfair.

R. Hall

St Mary’s Close

Littlehampton