‘There is anti-social behaviour everywhere’ - community welcomes plans for new YMCA hostel in Sunderland as protests continue
We must show care and compassion - that is the view of residents who say a community should be welcoming accommodation in to help those most in need, not turning against it.
The No Way To the YMCA Action Group has been protesting against the plans to turn the former Church View Medical Centre in Silksworth into an eight-bed home for 16 to 21-year-olds over concerns about bad behaviour.
The organisation wants the charity to ditch its proposals, which have already been given planning permission from Sunderland City Council.
Read more: Protesters pledge to keep fighting plans for new Sunderland YMCA hostelBut other members of the community say they want to make it clear not everyone is against the scheme.
Lynne Aubrey is from the area and says other members of her family are also in support of the idea and does not believe that offenders or those with substance issues will be living there.
She says she is not aware of any issues with the YMCA’s centre in Fence Houses
“I’m a Silksworth resident, I’ve lived here for 45 years and I am absolutely appalled that the community I grew up in and respected have no compassion for young people who need a helping hand,” she said.
“I can’t understand why people are against it to be honest.
“If people are coming out of care, they have got to go somewhere, what to people expect them to do, they don’t have the best start in life, they have had instability and maybe not a lot of love or perhaps abuse, this is a big move for them.
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“I know a lot of people don’t want to speak up for fear of reprisals because it is such a close knit community, but it is important.
“This is for a good cause and people are always concerned about getting the homeless off the streets.”
Related: ‘I was one of these children’ - plans for new YMCA hostel spark debate in SunderlandAddressing those who are against the accommodation, she said: “Look around you, there is anti-social behaviour everywhere, some of your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews are responsible, so should we oust them out of Silksworth too, when we know what they are up to?
“You just assume that because they are young people that they are going to be trouble.
“I’m a big believer in helping those less fortunate than myself and I for one, am happy this has been given permission.
“Take a look at the antisocial behaviour already around you and protest about what is happening in the here and now and not what may happen.”
YMCA Wearside has said it wants to give young people a safe place to live and that it is disappointed some residents do not share its view.
It says it is “determined” to support those in need, who may be left with no where else to live other than the streets, and help them rebuild their lives.