Bognor Regis is second worst place in the UK for young people, apparently.
The problem has so many causes, I could rant on about it for ages. Part of the problem is actually surveys like this – they not only enhance a town’s "tea dance and bingo" reputation by banging on about it, but they also seem to suggest that the solution lies in activities that are centred on alcohol (in this case, the survey is sponsored by the vomit and driving ban inducing After Shock). This latter point has two problems associated with it – firstly it suggests that young people can only feel entertained when they are inebriated, which I think severely underestimates the majority of young people (it’s only once you get past 30 that this holds true!). Secondly, by encouraging a drinking culture in younger people, the divide between young and old only widens.
To put it right, decision makers (often older people) have to understand the needs of the younger citizens of their towns. Younger people have to get involved in the decision making process too – not just moan amongst themselves, but try to be heard. Chichester has no nightclub in the city, yet it has a university and a college, with a big student population. Bognor only has a small cinema and no bowling alley. Neither Bognor nor Chichester have much to offer to the 15 to 18 year old group, which is why they end up hanging around the Cross and convenience stores, swigging off bottles of booze that they’ve purchased illegally.
Both the young and old communities have to realise that they live in a shared space, and accept that each group has its own needs. Each has to accept and tolerate the other – the old community must get over its nimbyism whilst the young must respect the space and peace that the rest of the community might prefer.