Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, but no-one has told me how to do it.

I'm struggling to comprehend this:

A council spokeswoman said: "Data has shown there are people who don't go to the beach.

"We have families in Margate and Ramsgate - the more deprived areas - who have never taken their children."

She said when children from Newington Kids Club in Ramsgate were taken to Dumpton Gap, some of them said they had never been to the beach before.

And when council project officers go into schools, they regularly ask children if they have visited the beach. In nearly every session, there are some children who say no.

Whoa there. You mean to tell me that the reason some parents have never put a pair of shoes on and walked, for free, to the beach, which is free, in their own town is because they are deprived?


That is to say, that it has never occurred to these parents, on a nice day in the school holidays when the kids are bored and climbing the walls to take them down to the bloody beach?

Thanet (Ramsgate, Margate & Broadstairs) has much going against it, however one of the greatest strengths it has are its beaches, most of which are gorgeous sandy affairs. Ramsgate has a corker, Margate's beach is enormous, literally a five minute walk from the town centre and probably the only high spot in a town which is so faded it is almost transparent. Just outside Broadstairs is the sublime Joss Bay, a beach so beautiful that it could make angels cry, it has surf, numerous rockpools, caves, sea eroded arches in the magnificent cliffs that surround the beach which can be explored at low tide. It's a great place, look:

You see? Who wouldn't want to take their kids there? Which child wouldn't want to go and play in the rock pools looking for crabs and shellfish, or explore the caves and arches? Incidentally, through that arch you see is another enormous beach which on the far side turns into a moonscape of chalky rocks, it really is a wonderful place. And it is free.
How is being deprived preventing you from using this?

Still somebody has a job to protect and so has made sure that a problem is identified. Of course now that the problem has been identified, we need the solution. Can we guess what it is?

The authority has received £100,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to encourage locals to explore the coast.

Whaaaaaaat? A hundred grand, to tell people to walk out from their own bloody front door? You are joking aren't you?
No, of course not, these are council people, their sense of humour is surgically removed upon induction to the office.

OK, look, perhaps an advertising campaign for the beaches isn't such a bad idea, there are people from all over Kent who would love using them, plus it could bring some much needed revenue into the towns. It's going to stop there though, isn't it?

Activities coming up include a fun day on Margate beach and a "fit and healthy" day on the sands at Ramsgate.

Oh, no, come on, you're ruining it. A fit and healthy day? Why does everything councils touch have to turn to bland? Kids don't want that, they want danger, excitement. They want pirates and smugglers, they want a tide race. A tide race is so fun that it would probably be banned if it became widespread. The idea is that on a sandy beach you divvy people up into teams and at low tide, with the aid of shovels, you dig out and build the biggest sand castle you can, at the sound of a whistle, everyone in each team has to jump on, the tide comes in and the last team to be washed away wins.
But no, it'll have to be an eco-friendly, tofu pimping, five-a-day, socially inclusive, fit and healthy fun day.

Give me strength.

Once again, the state steps in and tells parents; "we will tell you how to raise your kids. Indeed, you can't be trusted, so we'll do it for you."

This is why kids aren't being taken to the beach - it's nothing to do with deprivation, it's to do with being told that your kids aren't your responsibility and you can only do things when someone organises it for you.

How very tragic.


RB said...

I lived in Cliftonville until I was 11. From the age of about 6 we spent every single day at the beach in the summer holidays and on any sunny weekends. Our mum kicked us out after breakfast with a little money for a snack at lunch and we didn't come back until tea-time. When she could she came with us. I used to love going to Joss Bay.

We didn't need our parents to take us in those days. That's the real tragedy - everyone is so scared now that if you did send your kids to the beach on their own you'd probably end up in the clutches of social services in no time.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Found similar in Scotland. The local school near Bathgate was running a trip to Edinburgh. Look on the map. It is what? Half an hour to an houur (with bad traffic along the Broxburn road).

90% of the pupils, at 10 to 12 years, had NEVER been!

Then the parents were asked. "Oh we went on a school trip once". (At the same age as those mentioned above.

FFS! These people had not travelled the half hour to Edinburgh in 15 to 20 years!!!

THEN the bastards turn around and say "the reason the scheme is so full of drugs is that it is SOOO boring here, innit".

Call me Infidel said...

As a former resident of the "Newington Free State" I have to say this sounds like a load of old tosh. Though maybe things were different back in the 70's when we fished from Ramsgate pier and went swimming off the West Cliff beaches. However you are right this is some council deadbeat on a ludicrous salary looking out for their own self interest.