St Mary's church porch

edited August 2015 in General Wivenhoe Talk
The church porch has always been accessible to everyone, being open even outside times that the church is in use.
Over the past year this accessibility has caused increasing problems, now on almost a daily basis:
  • litter and food stuffs being left
  • stone work being marked by scratching
  • electricity connection point vandalised
  • body fluids including vomit on the floor
  • burnt paper, cigarette roll-ups and evidence of suspected drug use
The police have been made aware and patrols have been stepped up. It is known that small groups of teenagers regularly gather in the porch, as early as after school and also in the evenings. The groups consist of both boys and girls.

The point of this post is to alert  Wivenhoe parents.
While this is probably caused by a small minority, it might help to reduce the problem if all parents let their teenage children know that they are aware this is happening and express their thoughts about it in a general way.

Comments

  • Poster campaigns and the like will not cure this problem.

    Only making the porch inaccessible to vandals will have any effect.

  • An alternative approach perhaps. We could agree that a group of middle aged to seniors would randomly sit and talk in the porch instead, it will become an unpopular locations for the culprits. That is assuming the culprits and in fact a group of  the middle aged to seniors

  • Apparently the sound of classical or choral music makes areas a 'no go' zone for young people...?
  • Mosquito alarms are most effective
  • Mosquito alarms are an obnoxious solution as they don't target those who may warrant the deterrant.
    It would also be a shame to close off the porch area (as it is a shame the church has to be closed when unattended) - although I understand the reasons of course.
     
    How about a Periscope solution? If a passer-by notices something going on, turn on the Periscope App and go and investigate.
  • Completely with Adrian on the mosquito point - hideous things - and young people might actually, you know, want to walk around the churchyard or sit in the porch and have a chat. I know I did as a kid. Also, despite my advancing years, I can still hear mosquito alarms.

    Stupid question: is there a litter bin provided?
  • edited August 2015
    Young people are absolutely welcome to sit and chat in the porch.

    Often on a Wednesday evening when a group has been there, Erwin and others have chatted with them. Yes @tobermory, there is a litter bin though not in the porch itself. But when they were given a plastic bag and asked to clear up such rubbish as there was (much less than shown!) they've been completely fine about it.
    When they asked if they could come in once, Erwin gave them a guided tour, they took selfies, asked if they might light a candle, etc. and enjoyed it.

    But we suspect there may be others, at other times, who are causing the severe litter and damage problem. The pictures are of the third lot that had to be cleared up within 36 hours.  Seeking the involvement of the police was very much a last resort after the trouble escalated.

    All the ideas above and more - except the Periscope :) - have been considered by the PCC and found unacceptable, certainly the mosquito.
    @pitfall making the porch inaccessible to vandals would make it so for everyone else. But unless a viable solution can be found it may have to come to that.
  • Not sure if there is one already, but would a sensor-activated light near the porch help? If it's on then it's a good sign to others that there is somebody there and may act as a deterrent to anyone not there for entirely innocent purposes ... more chance of being spotted and identified.

    This is, of course, assuming that the problems are occurring after dark!

  • Yes Savvy, there is such a light already. And we've found there's no difference whether it's working or not.
  • Maybe the kids lack of respect for the church entrance was a commentary on the Church of England's blinkered disrespect for women and homosexuality?
  • Or the fact that there are very few places younger people can congregate in Wiv?
  • I agree Pip. As nation, we expend far too much energy tut-tutting at the "effect" and not enough addressing the "cause" of society's problems. 

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