'Gangs give support'

PUBLISHED: 15:24 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:33 10 June 2010

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26: A LACK of parental role models is driving Exmouth's young people to turn to gangs for support, according to a report published by youth charity The Prince's Trust. The Culture of Youth Communities reveals that more than a third, 38 per cent, of young peop

A LACK of parental role models is driving Exmouth's young people to turn to gangs for support, according to a report published by youth charity The Prince's Trust.The Culture of Youth Communities reveals that more than a third, 38 per cent, of young people surveyed in the county do not have a parent who they consider to be a role model - this is above the national average of 34 per cent.Sixty-two per cent claim that finding a sense of identity is a key reason for joining a gang, and almost one in five, 18 per cent, say young people are looking for role models in gangs. Alex Warren, 22, from Exmouth, said: "I know a lot of people who don't look up to their parents in the way I do, and it's a shame. "Turning to your friends can be dangerous, depending on what kind of friends you have. Young people are easily influenced. If they look up to a good person, that's fine, but if it isn't, that can be really damaging." Alex is organising a live music event for young people in Exmouth with help from a NatWest community cash award from The Prince's Trust.Martina Milburn, chief executive of The Prince's Trust, said: "All the threads that hold a community together - a common identity, role models, a sense of safety - were given by young people as motivations to join gangs. "Our research suggests that young people are creating their own 'youth communities' and gangs in search of the influences that could once have been found in traditional communities." The survey of 14- to 25-year-olds also highlights how young people in the South West are more than twice as likely to turn to a peer, 63 per cent, with a problem instead of a parent, 30 per cent.

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