The instinctive reaction to eject young people hanging around churchyards should be resisted, according to new advice from the Church of England in Greater Manchester.
Instead, churches need to join forces with local police, neighbourhood wardens and council youth officers to get to know the young people who might cause trouble.
Teenagers who hang around outside church buildings are often viewed as a threat, but in a document issued to all parish clergy, the Church of England says there is an opportunity to befriend and help them which could be missed. Circulated around the parishes, the advice includes examples of good practise from around Greater Manchester.
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A study of parents and young people in disadvantaged communities by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found groups of young people gang together with friends as a way of keeping safe and avoiding trouble. The report calls more local promotion of safe, organised activities. Click here for more information.