Shock tactics in youth facilities drive

A drunk girl lying unconscious on a toilet floor is the image promoting a hard-hitting Manchester Maccabi campaign for better youth facilities to combat drinking and drug-taking among teenagers as young 14.

The posed photograph is on the front of a leaflet asking parents to give money towards a dedicated youth worker to run events from Maccabi's Prestwich sports club and other venues. The leaflet will be followed by a telethon and the club is also asking parents and young people to participate in its Manchester community fun run on July 17 to boost fundraising.

Chairman Bradley Feld said Maccabi was looking to provide social events to entice those between 14 and 16 away from the streets and city centre clubs.

"We know there are real concerns with young people who borrow fake IDs and go off into central Manchester," Mr Feld said. "There have been problems with underaged drinking and collapsing.

"So often parents ask us what there is to do for young Jewish people in Manchester. It's a real issue and we need to be able to offer something on the north side of the city. We are determined to make Maccabi the Jewish community centre in north Manchester and a fundamental part of it is to have a youth worker there."

Maccabi has a favoured candidate for the youth worker's post but lack of funds are hampering the appointment. Its two-storey building in Prestwich attracts up to 1,200 adults and youngsters each week for sports activities, dance classes, cultural events and restaurant dining. Planning permission has been granted for a £150,000 extension for dedicated youth facilities.

But Maccabi treasurer Bernie Yaffe said the priority was getting events running with a minimum of £30,000 to pay a part-time salary and fund popular activities. "Kids have told us they want events they could put on themselves. It's an age when they want to flex their own muscles. I'm sure most parents in the community would reckon that was a good idea and would want to help.

"We had long debates when we designed the leaflet, but concluded if it wasn't something challenging to parents, then people would say it's the same old thing. The key thing for us is to begin a conversation with parents."

    Last updated: 10:56am, June 3 2011