Telford street pastors’ warning over under-18s club night

A 14-year-old girl was admitted to hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning and others were left with no way of getting home following an under-18s club night in Telford, members of a voluntary group claimed today.

Telford Street Pastors, a Christian group that patrols the town, today raised concerns about the welfare of young people.

They said they were shocked by the behaviour of many teenagers who had attended the Reloaded event at Club Crush in Telford Town Centre.

Many had appeared to consume large amounts of drink before they arrived at the club, which operated a strict alcohol-free bar.

Keith Osmund-Smith, from Telford Street Pastors, said: “Even we were shocked by the events of Saturday night.”

The group say events should finish earlier in order to give those attending more time to get home.

And they said parents must also take responsibility to ensure their children are safe.

Mr Osmund-Smith said he was shocked at scenes of drunkeness he saw and said many teenagers were congregating past midnight waiting for taxis.

He said parents should be aware their children were being put in a vulnerable position, adding: “I would have hoped more parents would have taken the responsibility to pick up their children.

“I do not think parents are as willing to turn up to get them at midnight as they would be at 10pm and are relying too much on taxis. We would encourage parents to collect them at a pre-arranged time and place.”

The under-18s night opened at 8pm and at 8.07am an ambulance was called to a 14-year-old girl with suspected alcohol poisoning.

The event was due to finish at 11.40pm, and many children calling for taxis then were told they would have to wait until after midnight.

Costas Vanezi, who owns Club Crush but does not promote the event, said: “The event is run by an outside promoter. Other places like the cinema are open later and have 16 and 17-year-olds at them. If there were any young people who didn’t have a taxi or parents to collect them it was a minority and could have happened anywhere.

“Some kids turned up drunk and they were kept in a designated area until their parents or someone came to collect them.”

Comments for: "Telford street pastors’ warning over under-18s club night"

Phil

For godness sake, it shouldn't be allow for under 18's exspecially after 8pm. The council must step in and change the tougher law to be over 18's only.

I am sorry I disagree with under 18's in the first place.

Aden

I disagree? why shouldn't they be? over 16's even so? its getting kids off the streets and into a night club with you friends!

Annonymous

These events are strictly for 16-18 year old. Yet you have large groups of 18-25 year olds attending. This group causes trouble all the time, they start fights on children and pull out knives.

Reloaded Events

These comments are totally untrue and if you feel it necessary to make comments, they should be factual and correct.

The event is a teenage party, so open to 13-18 year olds. We and all of the services ensure that the young people never come into contact with over 18's and every attendee is searched to ensure their safety in the venue.

As the police and council officials will confirm there has never been any fighting or weapons at the reloaded

Unknown

I think holding under 18 events is a brilliant idea. It enables young people to go out, socialise and do this within a safe environment which is staffed by security, and various other organisations. As many people in the past, until you try things you will never know. Many teenagers do have drink, but the responsibility lies with the parents. You tend to find that friends meet at one house where parents buy drink or have drink for them and then proceed to the venue. So it boils down to parents I say. I agree with holding the event but it is parents that are responsible for their children as its not entitled "Baby sitting group". All young people like to have freedom but they all have to understand rules and regulations. I agree Aden, it keeps people off the streets and gives them something to do rather than commit crime/anti social behaviour. However, teenagers are teenagers and wont be told, until an incident like this happens and they will realise one day what alcohol can do.

unknown

it is the their choice to drink the alcohol and the individuals should be dealt with, but this is a small minority. Many of the teens that attended the even thave a great time and arrange pick-ups and how they are getting home in advance anyway, its just common sense.

These events get teens off the streets and into night clubs where it is a safe environment, there is enough security to deal with behaviour.

Terry

I think Telford and Wrekin Council need to put a stop to this all together , trading standards are to soft , as yes i agree with phil on the above message they need to close the party early . they should do under 16s only till 8pm and 18s until 9.00pm .

This kind of problem also causes a lot of concern for the police aswell , people under 18 and making sure they get home safe.

Roger

The solution should be simple. Plenty of police and social workers attending to screen participants. Under 16's should be taken into care pending the transfer of them to parents who should explain the circumstances. Anyone suffering the affects of alcohol should be interviewed by the police to establish who supplied them with the alcohol and then follow up.

I fully accept that over 16's attending a non alcoholic event are fully entitled to do so as they please and can not be constrained. Not even by their parents. That's the law, but the police can give them advice.

It does not sound as if the club broke any laws but their door keeping policies for under 18's should be reviewed and the police should offer advice. Properly controlled events for over 16's should be commended if it introduces them to what to expect at 18 and keeps them off the streets. If we can teach our 16+ children that they can have fun without the assistance of drugs and booze it can only be a good thing. Abused for commercial gain should be heavily "discouraged".

As important as anything else, the police should be in attendance at the close of the event to see who else is on the prowl and check the welfare of the teens leaving. To the teenagers over 16 the presence of the police and social workers should be benign and even inclusive in the fun. Teen’s need to understand that they are there to help them enjoy themselves whilst ensuring that they are kept safe.

Reloaded Events

Roger thank you for you supportive comments.

Please rest assured that the welfare of all teenagers at every Reloaded event is at the forefront of the minds of all those involved. We were asked to run these events in Telford as there was nothing for the young people. This meant many were then congregating in Telford Town Park or on street corners and this was very difficult for the various associations to police.

Many also travelled to similar events in Shrewsbury, where travel issues were obviously an even bigger risk and conflict between Shrewsbury / Telford groups caused additional risks and safety issues.

At Reloaded we have liaised with the police, council, licensing officers and child protection services. We have ensured that all of their requests have been adhered to and ALL of these services give us their support at EVERY event to ensure these young people are kept safe, happy and well cared for.

- all tickets clearly state that the event is under 18 only and once in the event they are not allowed out of the venue until their parents or lift is there to collect them. This ensures that they can't be influenced by third parties that might want to tempt them with drink or drugs outside of our control.

- all tickets clearly state that there is a zero tolerance to alcohol and entry will be refused if under the influence. If a young person falls into this bracket (which is very rare actually) then their parents are called and they are handed over to them without entering the event.

- as well as a large support team of police and council representatives, the door keepers search every attendee to ensure alcohol is not smuggled into the venue and they monitor the attendees for the whole evening, taking any they think may have 'pre-loaded with alcohol directing to the welfare room.

-Reloaded events pays for twice as many door keepers as that recommened to ensure every young person is kept safe, we also provide a permanent representative in the toilets, a medic is hired to cover a welfare room where we can care for any issues and reunite children with their parents. (Having said that the only issues dealt with by the medic at the previous two events were girls falling off their heels).

We are parents too and we pride ourselves on the way these are events are managed and run and have been commended by all services for this. There were 349 children at Saturdays event, all having a great time in a safe environment, monitored by all services.

The issues raised in this article refer to issues relating to girls that weren't even at the event and prior to the doors opening. Surely it's the responsibility of the parents to ensure their children are safe and well - they should be ensuring they know where they are and what they are doing ( and that includes how they have got access to such quantities of vodka). The children referred to had apparently been drinking at home before coming to the town centre.

We have two bouncers and two parents asking every attendee if their lift is there or taxi outside if they try to exit the venue and if not we keep them in a holding area until it arrives.

Can we be held responsible when these people lie, or in fact haven't happened to mention parents aren't actually collecting them and they don't have any money to get home? We fail to understand how parents really feel leaving them in this situation is perfectly ok.

We publish the start and finish time of the event, the young people don't have to stay until the end and parents are perfectly welcome to collect them at what ever time they feel is appropriate. Many parents bring their children into the event and in fact wait outside for them with coats at the end.

What we should all remember is that the young people were safe, well looked after and had a great time at the event - it would be such a shame if a small group of people spoiled this for everyone else.

Rach

I would say most of these kids have mobile phones, so they can only be stranded because they don't want to call their parent because their parents don't know they've gone.

Bill

We've seen, only too recently, what can happen to vulnerable teenagers and it will be on national TV on Thursday evening.

How on earth can such events be allowed when they are a clear route to child exploitation by those on the periphery?

The Council needs to stop this, and stop it now.

eva land

I don't know how we survived the 1970s without the Street Pastors.

Jim

The 70s where quite different.

Reloaded events

I had thought the street pastors were there to support individuals that needed help, not preach their Christian's views on child upbringing.

We would of been very happy to talk to them both on the night and since any of the events, but yet they have failed to make contact with us but yet rang the Shropshire Star to publish the article.

Keith Osmund-Smith

Just to clarify - Street Pastors never preach although they come from a range of Christian churches across the Borough. The concerns of Street Pastors are absolutely nothing to do with Christian views on child care. They are the concerns of responsible adults who are themselves parents and grandparents and bothers and sisters too.

None of last saturday's events will stop this wonderful group of people being on the streets of Telford on Friday nights but they have earned the right to express their views when they see children and young people unnecessarily exposed to risk and cynical exploitation..

hayley fisher

I think that it is wrong for a minority of young people to ruin the under 18 night for everyone else. my daughter has been to the last 2 under 18 nights held at club crush. I am one of the responsible parents that doesnt just let my child leave the house and not be bothered about how they will be getting home or if they are drinking.. I make sure my daughter arrives there and I collect her when it finishes, even if it is 12 at night! I think the point people are missing that when you let your child go to a club night, they are your child so you should make sure they get there without drinking half a bottle of vodka on the way and you should get off your arse and collect them at the end of the night. When they are outside the club they are the parents responsibility. and when they get into the club then they are in the clubs care. the girl who was drunk was quite rightley refused entry to the club, and all the responsible kids obviously were allowed in and had a brilliant night! and as for you Phil, i would rather my daughter go and have fun with friends in a safe environment that be hanging round the steet. so yet again parents that couldn`t care less let their children ruin it for all the others!

Reloaded Events

Thank you Hayley.

Please be rest assured that you daughters welfare and all of the attendees is at the forefront of our minds at all times.

They all have a great time.

What would people rather these kids do? The event offers a really safe, fun environment and a great alternative to Saturday TV or the Internet.

ez

I'm of the same opinion of Hayley...my 15yo has been to a couple of the under 18 nights with her friends, as parents we take it in turns to get the girls there and to collect them and ensure they arrive home safely.

some parents just dont give a toss what their kids do, and the minority always spoil it for the majority......

al

Not being funny but I went to this event and we're just young and having fun, surely we have that right? So yes someone was admitted to hospital but that doesn't mean we're all the same.

I defiantly don't think the event should be cancelled or the times changed as it is keeping us busy and letting us socialize. most parents moan that us teenagers don't get out enough yet when we do get out they act like it's the worst thing that has ever happened in Telford.

I actually had a really good night, I met new people, had a laugh and it gave me an excuse to dress up. We were well looked after and our belongings were kept safe.

Just thought everyone should here the point of view for someone that was actually in the club.

Club Crush

Thanks for all of the comments,

The regular Under 18's event that we hold at Club Crush is supervised from start to finish by the Police, Child Protective Services, Council Licensing Officers, Paramedics, fully experienced Door Supervisors and Club Management,

There were no incidents to report inside of the venue, the 14 year old girl mentioned above arrived at the club and was spotted to be under the influence of alcohol and refused entry to the venue, she was then taken to a holding room with a paramedic and the police until an ambulance arrived,

At the end of the night there was one girl which couldn't get a taxi home but she was being looked after by the Police, Licensing Officers and The Street Pastors,

Club Management offered there assistance and were told that it was all under control and that no further assistance would be required,

On the night we had in excess of 300 under 18's at this event that fully enjoyed themselves in a safe environment and the incidents reported outside of the club were less than a handful and dealt with accordingly,

As a responsible venue we are having meetings with all concerned and if its decided that it would more appropriate to end the events at an earlier time then we wouldn't hesitate to do so.

Regards

Club Crush

Aden

you guys aren't seeing what these under 18s nights are doing for teenagers:

1-what night life is going to be like for when we're older

2-gets us off the streets and causing problems for people on the streets

3- an easy way of socialising to make new friends

so stop looking at the bad side of things and why would 15,16,17 year old's want to go out until 8pm? that's just stupid there's no point in even having anything! you're going on like we're animals but were not. I do agree on the alcohol and transport bit cos if you did have a brain you'd organise transport and when going out having a few cheeky drinks/shots before hand but don't come paralytic like others do and can't handle there drinks.

Erin

I completely agree with Hayley and Ez, why should the majority of under 18's be tarred with the same brush as the reckless minority! I think it's better for them to go to an event like this than say a house party when parents are away and no adults are there to control the situation and deal with it if it escalates! It's a fun night for under 18s to enjoy so why try and let one silly girl ruin it for everyone else! When I was 13 I went to events like these and simply had a good time, and no trouble was ever caused! It depends on the person not the age - there are barley 18 year olds who get in this state regularly because it's their first time with freedom!

It's a good idea to run events like these so when all these kids turn 18 they won't go completely mad on nights out and end up in hospital, just because they are legally allowed to and never been exposed to similar situations!

eva land

[The 70s where quite different.]

Admittedly alcohol was more difficult to obtain unless purchased at the pub, there were few off licences and most people started going to pubs at about 16 with no questions asked.

Our parents generation had been leaving school at 14 to start work and their parents going to war at 16 so we were not considered so young then.

My, not as young family have found the Street Pastors patronizing and annoying and it does seem very wrong that they are only given positive press when not necessarily, always dealing with situations in a helpful way.