Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Focusing our energies

For various reasons work took me to Bootle for the last few days. If you've never had the dubious pleasure of Bootle then it is a sight that you really should see. It is unbelievable. It is quite possibly the worst place to live in Britain. I mean honestly, you have no idea.

This is not somewhere with a bit of graffiti here or a broken window there. In fact there are no broken windows at all, because they are all either boarded or shuttered. Instead there are holes in the roofs. All the shops are shuttered, even when they are open. Speaking to the locals it seems that they have such a problem with theft and vandalism that it has reached a point where shops that are trying to show off what they are selling can't do so. Most heart breaking of all was the youth centre, boarded up, burnt out and covered in graffiti.

What an absolute hell hole.

And it made me wonder why I do what I do in scouting. My group draws from a very wealthy, very middle class area. While I'm sure all the kids get a lot out of what they do with me I'm also pretty sure that if they didn't have a scout group to go to that they would find plenty more to stimulate them and would still grow up well rounded and well adjusted. In actual fact shouldn't it be places like Bootle where we concentrate our efforts?

I know that sat here typing away while I eat my morning muesli that it's very easy for me to say. To ask people to volunteer their time in unpleasant places with kids that are likely to be a lot harder work than perhaps they are used is a huge ask. To try and get bums on seats in places like this would also be far easier said than done. And yet.... just because something isn't easy doesn't stop it being the truth now does it?

Food for thought indeed.

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