MENTION Urbanisation La Marina to many people outside the area and it immediately conjures up an image of an area full of British retirees and the oft-use and offensive to many phrase of ‘God’s waiting room’.
Without doubt, there are a significant number of over 50s but there’s also an increasing number of younger members of that society been raised in that part of the Costa Blanca and are concerned about their present and future lives.
RTN recently spoke with Danielle Hull who, at 17-years old, most certainly carries her very mature head on young shoulders. She was only 18-months old when she was brought to start a new life with her parents in the sun and so, having gone through the school system is, to all intents and purposes Spanish despite being born in Burton-on-Trent.
Danielle has recently taken an interest in local politics when she realised the lack of facilities for people of her age.
“There is nothing here except bars and a large number of houses, and I believe there is no motivation for people, especially the youth of the area,” she said. “Out of sheer boredom, many kids are spending all the time addicted to their ‘phones and many have slipped into taking drugs. They are leading a monotone life.”
I put it to Danielle that many think a youth club is the answer? She was quite definite that it wasn’t the solution.
“The majority of kids in the present time wouldn’t go to a youth club. Clubs aren’t “cool” anymore; besides which, it was attempted a few years ago and didn’t succeed. We shouldn’t make the same mistake again.”
Danielle thinks that there are other priorities on the Urbanisation that the town hall should be investing in when it comes to the youth.
“There is a social centre on the Urb that is hardly used. It should be open every day to everyone – not just the kids – and should be a place where people should be encouraged to meet and to include a library, free WiFi, and even a selection of sockets to let the youth charge their ‘phones. It’s the only way in the modern world that we can keep in touch with our families.”
Danielle would also bring in a youth bus pass card which would allow travel off the Urbanisation and visit nearby places such as Guardamar, Elche, Torrevieja and Alicante without having to rely on family members to transport them everywhere. “It would also help young people look for work or enable them to travel that little bit further to their jobs without the extra expense of bus fares,” she said. “We could even go the beach on our own in the summer!”
In passing, I mentioned the word ‘Brexit’ to Danielle and was keen to find out what she and her friends thought of the debate that is concerning many.
“Nobody really understands what it is or what it implies,” she said. “It’s not something they seem to talk about. We’re also not taught anything in school about the way that local politics works and it’s something I believe should be addressed for the future. Everyone should be made aware about how to register to vote and the importance of doing so”
Danielle certainly has ambitions to take her political opinions to the next level and, if allowed to after the Brexit negotiations, will be old enough to stand at the municipal elections in 2019. “I would like to have the chance and maybe even one day become councillor for youth or education to have the chance to improve the lives of the young people of the municipality. I’m not the kind of person that will sit with her arms crossed and her eyes closed and I just hope there is a chance to help build a future for the kids that currently have little or no ambition other than to get a job in a bar or restaurant.”