South Dublin County Council (SDCC) plans to allocate €500,000 to set up teen spaces in Lucan, Clondalkin, Rathfarnham and Tallaght. The majority of teenagers in South Dublin County want somewhere to hang out with their friends, rather than access to more sporting facilities. So says a report undertaken by SDCC. The council surveyed approximately 500 young adults, with 90% saying they wanted space to sit and chat, rather than more sports facilities and now plans to allocate €500,000 to set up teen spaces in Lucan, Clondalkin, Rathfarnham and Tallaght.
“The survey results are clear: that providing more organised activities for teenagers is not what they want,” the report states. “Research into the provision of existing facilities for teenagers within the county corroborates the findings of the survey”. There are ample opportunities for teenagers to engage in sport across the county and various other teen offerings are not over-subscribed. “Hanging out is seen as a desirable activity in itself and is not a result of having nothing to do.” However, unlike young children or older adults, teenagers have no obvious right to spaces of their own. They usually have nowhere else to go except outdoor public places including parks and playgrounds. The survey shows that teenagers feel excluded from many public places. They report being unwelcome, feeling unsafe and being deterred by anti‐social activity.
The report recommends the creation of a series of hangout/meeting places for teenagers with such facilities as swings, climbing and zip lines as well as spaces with free wi-fi, shelter, a place to play music, toilets and water fonts. The report also recommends creating areas for unstructured physical activity such as all-weather pitches, skate parks and basketball courts which is generally self-directed activity rather than organised sport. It was also recommended that the Council investigate means of providing unstructured hangout areas which could include the provision of cafes in parks. These would provide a service to all park users but would be particularly beneficial to teenagers as a social outlet.
On foot of the teen space report, SDCC are proposing the following projects for 2019, with further expenditure over the following two years. A robust area of activity for teenagers in Collinstown Park in Clondalkin with a goal, basketball net and large play equipment items, provision of Wi-Fi and seating scattered throughout the area at an overall estimated cost of €120,000. A giant bench has been proposed for Kingswood in Tallaght to act as a formal meeting area for teenagers, as well as other large play type equipment for older children and WiFi provision at an estimated €40,000. A multi-use games area is earmarked for Avonbeg at an estimated cost of €80,000. At Griffeen Park, Lucan it is proposed to provide enhanced sporting facilities, as well as a tea shop/coffee-pod seating and Wi-Fi at an estimated cost of €120,000. And a formal meeting place and activity area with equipment designed for use by older children in Ballycragh Park in Rathfarnham along with seating and Wi-Fi provision at an estimated cost of €110,000. At their January council meeting, Cllrs commended SDCC management and staff for the report.
Pictured: Example of Mutli Use Games area and exercise stations allow teenagers take ownership of areas.