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Space Youth Bus helping to drive anti-social behaviour out of Ightenhill

Promoting the bus' launch are staff members Cory Jordan, Abdul Haleem, Nicola Harvey, Dayna Monk, Abdul Shakoor, Keilly Eyre, Lynne Blackburn, Kurt Crawford, Charlotte Jackson and Ingrid Mason (back).
Promoting the bus' launch are staff members Cory Jordan, Abdul Haleem, Nicola Harvey, Dayna Monk, Abdul Shakoor, Keilly Eyre, Lynne Blackburn, Kurt Crawford, Charlotte Jackson and Ingrid Mason (back).
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Chances are we all have a story to tell about youngsters causing havoc in the neighbourhood.


It's something the people of Ightenhill know all too well.

The Space Youth Bus is kitted out with Xboxes, iPads, computers and TVs to keep children entertained and safe indoors. (s)

The Space Youth Bus is kitted out with Xboxes, iPads, computers and TVs to keep children entertained and safe indoors. (s)

But youth engagement officer Farooq Khan hopes he and his colleagues have an answer to the problem: The Space Youth Bus.

Kitted out with Xboxes, TVs, iPads and computers, it is a fun, modern and free place for youngsters to hang out with their friends after school.

The project isn't just about keeping kids off the streets. Director Lynne Blackburn and her team also lead anti-social behaviour workshops for people aged seven to 20 throughout Burnley.

"Some children in Ightenhill have been showing a lack of respect for the police and their neighbourhood, and they've been staying out very late," she said.

Lynne Blackburn is leading the project, which teaches children how to change their anti-social behaviour. (s)

Lynne Blackburn is leading the project, which teaches children how to change their anti-social behaviour. (s)

"The workshops have helped them to realise their behaviour upsets people, especially elderly residents."

The Space Bus will also travel into other areas, including Barden, Rosehill and the Lancaster Drive area of Padiham.

But it's not a problem which will disappear in a month.

"There's a multitude of factors contributing to anti-social behaviour," Farooq added.

"It could be the result of boredom, peer-pressure or a fight.

"We try to raise issues like racism or alcohol abuse with young people on their level and challenge any myths or negative attitudes they might have.

"We're trying to get some positive messages into their minds and break that negative cycle they can get so easily caught up in."

Only time will tell if the youth of Ightenhill take their new-found lessons from the bus and into their community.

As long as there are gaps in services, troubling behaviour will continue to plague neighbourhoods, warns Lynne.

"There's a lack of facilities in this area.

"I know they've got the all-weather pitch, but in winter youngsters need to be inside."

For Lynne, the core of the issue lies in the town's lack of children's services.

"We need to have regular youth clubs," she said.

"There is the Gannow Community Centre but you have to cross a really busy main road and it's not always convenient for parents to take their children there.

"We need more outreach and support workers, maybe from Burnley Football Club in the Community and their sports team.

"We've got access to Young Ad Action, which is the alcohol and drugs support team, but we need to be able to refer young people to other services.

"The key is gaining a child's trust and building up relationships."

They might have a tough journey ahead of them but the team know it's worth the hard work.

"Young people have a lot to offer and should be more involved in community projects with older neighbours," said Lynne.

"They'll form our future communities, families and tenants and can be potential role models.

"They are the next generation and their voices must be valued."

To sponsor the project, please call 01282 411182 or send an email to spaceyouthbus@me.com