Youth club launched in Rylands

Mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, JP Smith, speaks to young people about making positive choices for their lives.

Gatesville neighbourhood watch has teamed up with Rylands library to launch a youth club.

Recreational facilities for young people in the area are non-existent, says Fowzia Veerasamy, the chairwoman of the Gatesville neighbourhood watch.

The Gatesville Youth Club was launched on Wednesday May 10 at the Rylands civic centre.

This is also where the youth will gather every Wednesday from 3pm to 5pm, to be part of the “Four Corners”. Each corner will deal with games, arts, crafts, and talking.

Ms Veerasamy said the games corner would include board games, and physical games, while there would be music, dance and painting in the arts corner.

In the crafts corner, children would be able to create objects, as well as fix gadgets, with the aim of developing entrepreneurial skills.

The talking corner is dedicated to discussions and debates, to develop communication and coping skills.

“The arts corner develops self-esteem and builds confidence and the games corner develops teamwork and patience. There is also a life-skills aspect, as well as leadership skills attached to what they’ll do every week. We wanted to do this to give the young people something to do, as there is no recreation available for the youth here. These days, all the young people do is just sit with their cellphones,” Ms Veerasamy said.

Those present at the launch were given a taste of what is to come. The club will be run by volunteers of the neighbourhood watch and the library.

Speaking at the launch, Rafique Foflonker, chairman of the Lansdowne community police forum (CPF), warned the youth about cyber bullying, because social media had enabled this form of bullying to become more common.

Latching on to what Mr Foflonker said, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, JP Smith, told the young people that “sometimes a little privacy is good”.

He added: “We didn’t have cyber bullying 20 years ago. I do remember, however, being bullied at school. You don’t realise the power you have when you are young. Young people cause revolutions.

“However, you have to choose wisely. If you write down all the bad stuff that happened to you, chances are that in 99 percent of the cases, you are the cause of that. Think through your issues – don’t always think that you have to be the big guy. If my environment is bad and my friends do bad, it doesn’t have to be that way for me. You can change that. You don’t have to be a product of your environment. You can determine your own path,” Mr Smith said.

Jean-Maree Uys, senior librarian at Rylands library, thanked all those who attended, adding that the library is “always looking for innovative ways to improve our services and this is the perfect opportunity for us to be involved”.

Turning her attention to the young people, Ms Uys added: “This is your club. Please take ownership of it and enjoy it.”