COMMUNITY leaders are facing an uphill struggle to keep youngsters off the streets - with two influential figures saying more needs to be done.

Parveen Ishfaq campaigned to save St Mary's Leisure Centre, a facility which many say helps keep children off the streets.

She is calling for more support for youngsters.

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Daily Echo: Parveen IshfaqParveen Ishfaq (Image: Newsquest)

She said: "Everyone should be able to feel safe in the area they live in."

"We should feel safe in our neighbourhoods. Things have been (getting) bad since the youth centres have closed. 

"Young people need something to do.

"When they get home from school, they need somewhere to go, somewhere to meet friends, somewhere to belong.

"Crime is getting so high. The police and community need to do something." 

Daily Echo: Gino PiccininoGino Piccinino

Gino Piccinino runs Inner City Boxing on St Mary's Street and recognises the conflict between teenagers.

He said: "The real victims are the people living in SO14 and SO16.

"We want to give young people something to do. 

"We get children with bad behaviour from school, I like to think we're quite successful. 

"I have raised this issue with the council and I have said we would like to help, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. 

"Parents are concerned and bring their children to learn self-defence. 

"We keep an eye on them and we have rules in place.  

"We would do more, but we just don't have the premises."

The gym offers self-defence classes to children aged between nine and 16. 

But Gino says they have had to put a cap on the number of young people they take on due to an influx in recent years. 

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