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Teenagers at Tankerton

The summer holidays are long and for parents of children it is hoped they will find things to do and amuse themselves. We are fortunate in this part of Kent to live near the coast where the beach can be an ideal location to hang out. As a mother of teenagers it has become evident that Tankerton and Whitstable are increasingly popular locations for these meet-ups. It seemed logical to me that you would want to meet your friends at the beach, to swim, chat and relax. What I hadn’t probably imagined is that the meet-up was sometimes in the region of tens of teenagers. More like a mob of 30 to 40 teenagers, in my opinion a frighteningly large number of teenagers who are all just hanging out.

Why does a large group always seem so threatening? Is it the noise, the mob mentality or what feels like the power of many?

Last night, I was at Tankerton Slopes to spend an hour with friends, doing fitness. Regularly on a Tuesday we meet to run and exercise on the slopes enjoying the sea views, location and at the moment warm weather. Last night was no exception it was an absolutely glorious evening. On running along the slopes of Tankerton we passed large groups of teenagers and as we did, I commented to a friend “why do I always feel so intimidated when I pass large groups of youngsters?” We both agreed it is intimidating and gave the groups a wide berth as we passed, for my part I also glanced at the groups to see if I recognised anyone, possible friends of my children. Why I don’t know, but perhaps a mothers’ instinct.

Our evening run ended by the public toilets near Jo Jo’s and as we ran up the slope near the Tankerton yacht club a large (about 30)group of teenagers had congregated and were talking loudly and there was a feeling of unrest and, then quite literally at the moment we reached the top of the slope, two girls started hurtling towards each other and laying punches into one another. I watched in horror as teenagers in the group just watched on and chanted “fight fight” whilst videoing the whole episode on their phones. I was aghast and wanted to step in and split them up but was wisely advised not to, as the numbers were large and I would have become a victim myself. Fortunately as soon as this awful brawl started it stopped, with the group dissipating hopefully to their homes.

What has truly shocked me after witnessing this event is;
Seeing girls fight, and with such venom and hatred.
Not one of their friends stepped forward to stop the fight.
The bystanders were more interested in videoing the fight than stopping it.
The boys were chanting “fight, fight” not using their strength to stop the fight.

I am not a bitter mother who thinks teenagers are all dis-enchanted but my eyes have been opened, and I do feel very sad. I have views on why these events happened and after speaking with other parents last night so do they. The list goes something like this; alcohol, lack of home discipline, boredom, family life, social media, peer pressure.

I certainly don’t have the answers, I do however think being active helps and that is why I am a great advocate of sport. I keep myself and my children very active. We have just recently returned from a week’s sporting holiday. I appreciate we are lucky to be able to go away and indulge ourselves in sport for a week but on our return my sons were very quick to tell me they were bored!

I was quick to say “I can’t amuse you all the time, find something to do, invite a friend over, play table tennis, football, go for a swim or why not arrange to meet some friends at the beach. I have since wondered if my last recommendation is a good one.

Back in the office today I felt I wanted to share last night’s experience, hence this BLOG.

During my on-line searching today I also found this article that was written some years ago, seems like the events I am writing about are not new. That doesn’t make it any better, or less sad.

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/kent/news/plea-for-action-over-marauding-b-a24308/

I would also like to add for what it’s worth if anyone wants to join me and others at 7pm next Tuesday at Tankerton Slopes we meet near Jo Jo’s, they are very welcome. There is no age limit! And like I said, I am a great believer being active always makes us feel better.

On a really positive note

Today in the office three lovely ladies from Catch 22 visited the office. Their role is to help 16 to 24 years old, who are not in education, training or employment find work.
I am inspired by their approach and operation and feel that perhaps not a lot of people know about them. As part of the FBP (Faversham Business Partnership) we will be working more closely with this organisation. In the meantime if you want to contact them about work opportunities, please do.

Here’s a link to their website http://www.catch-22.org.uk/programmes-services/kent-route-work/#tab1

Lucy Guthrie



Comments

Showing comments 1 to 2 of 2

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I would like to add that I did not actually see the fight mentioned but did witness a very large group of youngsters on Tankerton Slopes that evening, shouting and charging around running amuck up and down and across the road. The final straw was two of the said group kicking over the rubbish bins outside the café leaving large amounts of rubbish scattered around- a senseless thing to do!!! I was watching from the window of a block of apartments that we have just finished building opposite the café.  I myself have a teenage son and I'm sure he is not a saint, but so help me if I ever catch him or his friends behaving in this way, they will certainly not do so again! The group of youths were intimidating and I would not have been comfortable approaching them, I was however grateful that eventually two/three police patrol cars appeared to deal with the situation.  It is such a shame that a relatively small group, have tarnished peoples perception of
Comment by Bev Hinckes on 08 Aug 2014
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I also witnessed the disturbing and tragic breakout last night as I enjoyed some exercise with Lucy and others on, what was otherwise, a glorious evening on the beach at Whitstable. To say that I was shocked but what I saw is an understatement and it left me with a feeling of sadness that we live in a society where friends would rather stand by and record the event rather than stepping in to help or, at least, attempt to diffuse the situation. I don't now what instigated the fight which was ferocious but such clashes can so easily lead to more serious things.
Comment by Dawn Sahathevan on 06 Aug 2014
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