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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 14 August 2008
Courage to speak out

• IT takes courage for a senior police officer to raise their head above the ocean waves and shift some responsibility to parents for youth related problems.
I do, however, believe Superintendent Paul Morris has hit the nail on the head (‘Frontline’ figures expose hot spots for youth attacks, July 17).
No child is born bad. Research shows that characteristics are learned by children from an age as early as three years old. Once learned, it is often too late or impossible to change them and inevitably “teenage hormones” will add to this impossibility in later stages of their formative years.
As parents, if we do our job right in those early years, by the time our little ones reach their teens they should know not to be somewhere they shouldn’t be at 3am, and if they have to be out at that time they should feel comfortable with asking their parents’ permission.
Knowing the difference between right and wrong and being aware that our little ones always copy us and our own characteristics helps in being an effective and good parent. It helps if we encourage them to develop their own aspirations, individuality, and independence, and it’s crucial children are brought up in loving, but disciplined, environments.
They may not realise it but children actually feel more secure and will respect us as parents if we set strict and fair boundaries.
We owe it to our children to fill their every day and hour with nurturing and fulfilling activities and even participate in these activities ourselves with them. This needn’t be costly; if we are determined enough to give our children the best possible life foundations we can find all sorts of activities for them which cost little or nothing.
It is normal for us to expect governments and agencies to spoon-feed our needs, but we also need to ask ourselves if we have gone beyond the call of duty in our role as parents!
Chair, Cantelowes Safer Neighbourhoods Panel, NW1


THE Liberal Democrat leader of Camden Council Keith Moffitt is not giving the whole picture (Letters, August 7) on youth services.
In fact his Liberal Democrat-led council has cut the funding to the Haven Youth Club in Camden Town by more than half. This is despite the fact that the club is much needed in the area and has been praised across the board, including in the pages of your newspaper.
And it’s not just the Haven which is losing out; clubs in Regent’s Park and in Gospel Oak are too. Given the climate surrounding youth violence, the fact that the council underspent by
£10million pounds and that the Lib Dems claim to care about youth services you would think they would be increasing spending, not cutting back.
Gloucester Crescent, NW1


• AS a local resident who lives opposite Castlehaven Community Association in Camden Town I find the hypocrisy of Chris Huhne MP and the Liberal Democrats over youth services astonishing.
Mr Huhne, who visited the Haven centre last week for a media stunt about youth crime said Castlehaven “is a particularly good example of how kids could be caught at an early age when police or social workers feel they are at risk of going off the rails.”
I wouldn’t put it exactly like Mr Huhne but I understand his sentiment. It’s extremely important that we have good youth clubs and facilities for young people and it’s clear Castlehaven does an excellent job.
It’s therefore a great shame that the centre’s budget is being massively cut by the Lib Dem council, threatening the very facilities that Mr Huhne praises. This is not a one off. The council has cut back on a wide range of provision for young people in recent years, including at Maiden Lane estate, Queen’s Crescent and the Regent’s Park estate, among others. They argue that they have increased funding elsewhere, but why should high quality schemes in deprived areas be cut to achieve this? Rather than robbing Peter to pay Paul, the council should look to make savings in other areas, such as its pointless area forum talking shops, its multi-million pound refurbishments of its own offices, or by reducing the constant stream of self-congratulatory letters sent by executive members for housing to tenants and leaseholders.
Warm words on giving young people things to do are easy, but they count for nothing when the Lib Dems are cutting services in the poorest areas.
Hawley Road, NW1


CHRIS Huhne MP, the Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, should be congratulated for choosing Castlehaven Community Association as launch pad for his positive new Liberal Democrat ideas for stopping young people committing crimes.
There will be entirely predictable claptrap from the Labour Party in response to this initiative. Lest readers are misled, therefore, I would like to point out that the present administration in Camden has increased youth service funding in both its annual budgets to date. Labour now yelp about reduced grants for specific centres while ignoring the fact that spending has been increased elsewhere. They also conveniently forget that Labour actually did cut youth service funding overall in its own last budget for Camden (2005-2006)!
The Lib Dems do not suppose problems are best solved by spending increasing sums in the same way year after year. Nor do they share Labour’s enthusiasm for criminalising our young people to appear “tough on crime”.
Mr Huhne, during his visit, endorsed Camden’s policies of intervening early to take action against anti-social behaviour with a positive, community-based approach. As our council now realise, offering every kid in Camden the chance to succeed is a far more hopeful way ahead than threatening them all with Asbos.
Bedford Avenue, WC1

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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