Youth work article was vague on detail

FROM Concerned Resident

I am writing in relation to an article in the Lurgan Mail on Thursday, September 6 2012 by Carmel Robinson about the Drumgor Detached Youth Work Project (DDYWP). As a 40 year resident of Craigavon who has raised three children in Craigavon and has three grandchildren living in Craigavon I am very disturbed by this article.

The first thing I would like to make clear, is what area DDYWP consider to be Craigavon? Is it just the Brownlow area or is it the borough of Craigavon which includes Lurgan, Portadown, Tandragee and Gilford. The reason I ask this is because it is not made clear in the article and the fact that the group is called Drumgor Detached Youth Work Project makes the article very misleading as people reading this may assume that all of the issues mentioned occur in and around the Drumgor and Brownlow area.

Furthermore I would like to know where these 27 bridges are located in the Brownlow area (or again are we talking about the borough of Craigavon) which has a gang at each bridge. As a long term resident, who is frequently out walking my dog, this is news to me, as well as too many of my neighbours who have are also long term residents. This paints a picture that there are gangs at every bridge in Craigavon, another statement I believe to be misleading.

In the article it states and I quote that “DDYWP has made contact with an astounding 7,644 young people and have directly signposted 596 youngsters to other organisations such as Opportunity Youth, PIPS, Health Promotion Agency, Lifeline, Samaritans, Sexual Health Clinics and health board services.” What I would like to know is how many of these young people are from, firstly the Drumgor area, the Brownlow area, the Craigavon Borough area (Lurgan and Portadown etc) and how many were referred to DDWYP from other organisations such as schools, the Scouts, the Boys Brigade and the Brownies etc., which I happen to know DDWYP work closely with. The article implies that these 7,644 young people are from both the Drumgor or Brownlow area and that DDYWP encountered them all on the streets, I would like this cleared up.

The article refers to one incident where a DDYWP youth development officer came across around 200 kids who were ‘off their heads on drugs’. Again I find this statement misleading. Did the youth development officer come across these kids in the space of a whole night over a number of different areas or was this one gang of 200 in one area? Furthermore, could the youth development officer be sure that every single one of them was ‘off their heads on drugs’? The article would make it believe that these 200 kids where encountered in either the Drumgor or Brownlow area. Again I would like this statement made clear because as a local resident I have never had an encounter with such a large group of young people.

It is also mentioned that 50 used needles where found near the Hub. This I find most disturbing as my three grandchildren regularly attend the Hub and neither their parents nor myself was informed of this. I believe that all parents, who have children attending the HUB, should have been informed.

I think the work DDYWP is doing is excellent and inspiring and they should keep it up. However, I believe this article to be very misleading and would make readers believe that Drumgor and Brownlow areas are a ‘no go’ at night due to the large amounts of youngsters and gangs who roam the area ‘off their heads on drugs’.

As a long term resident I can assure you this is not the case and this article can only have a detrimental effect on the number of small businesses in the area, particularly shops and pubs, as people will avoid the area after dark.