TLC comes under fire from fed-up youngsters

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YOUNG people in the town fear they are being frozen out of the Teviotdale Leisure Centre.

And the kids believe they are being wrongly stereotyped by staff at the facility.

In an anonymous letter to the Hawick News, signed ‘the responsible young people of Hawick’ they say they are suffering at the hands of a minority.

“We don’t want to be punished for the few people who make mistakes.

“We really want something to be done about this as we hate losing out on a place we enjoy attending.”

It comes just two weeks after it was announced that the TLC has been given a ten-year stay of execution by Scottish Borders Council following a consultation period into the possible closure of leisure facilities throughout the region.

In the Sports Facilities Strategy by Edinburgh-based consultants Kit Campbell Associates, the TLC was shown to have the biggest operating deficit – more than £300,000 in 2008/09.

But in the letter the youngsters, who are active members of the Escape Youth Cafe, claim their trade is being turned away. “We, the young people of the Hawick community, are trying to enjoy one of the few facilities available to us which is the Teviotdale Leisure Centre. Unfortunately this has not been possible over the recent months due to many reasons. One of the main reasons is the unwelcoming staff that are always on when we attend on a Friday night.

“Our parents give us pocket money for us to spend locally and we don’t feel our custom is welcome in the leisure centre.”

Escape project manager Sian Anderson said: “We don’t want to be singling out staff but the kids came to us and said they felt they don’t get treated with respect and aren’t allowed in to the TLC or get shouted at.”

Ewan Jackson, Border Sport and Leisure Trust chief executive officer, admitted he was concerned by the complaints and vowed to enter into dialogue with youngsters in a bid to aleviate the problems.

He said: “We have made considerable investment into the centre to provide additional facilities for young people to enjoy such as our Ignite Zone and dance machine/mats.

“I would welcome the chance to meet with them to reassure that they can continue to enjoy their local leisure centre to its full.”

Earlier this year the TLC worked in partnership with the Safer Communities team to provide access on Friday evenings for young people.

While this was initially a six week funded project, BSLT extended the provision and to date over 2,000 young people have enjoyed the facilities on offer. Manager Stuart Holmes added: “A short while ago we placed an advert in this paper to recruit individuals to form a centre focus group to which we had two replies.

“We would welcome a representative for the young people of Hawick to this group to ensure that their voice is heard.”