POOR parenting and a lack of positive adult role models is driving Yorkshire youngsters to join gangs, it is claimed.
A report by youth charity The Prince’s Trust makes the shocking revelation that almost one in three young people surveyed do not have a parent they consider to be a role model.
More than half claim that finding a sense of identity is a key reason for joining a gang and a quarter say young people are looking for role models in gangs.
The findings are revealed in a report called The Culture of Youth Communities which also puts into context recent alarm over knife crime and youth crime generally.
Only 9% of young people across the UK have spent time as part of a gang, 3% “regularly” take drugs and just 2% carry a knife.
Prince’s Trust chief executive Martina Milburn said: “All the threads that hold a community together – a common identity, role models and 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 1,754 young people aged from 14 to 25 also highlights how young people in Yorkshire and Humberside are twice as likely to turn to friends with a problem as they are to turn to a parent.
And it reveals the issues most likely to hold young people back in Yorkshire and Humberside are low self-confidence followed by a lack of job opportunities.
The Trust’s programmes provide young people with positive adult role models.
Prince’s Trust supporter the NatWest bank has funded a £1m project to help disadvantaged young people run projects.
The NatWest Community Cash Awards encourage young people to interact with a range of people in their local area and employees from the bank volunteer on the projects.
Stephen Moir, head of community investment at NatWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said: “The research shows that low self confidence can be a key factor in holding young people back.”