Charlton's Pond (Billingham)

I have been spending much of my Saturdays visiting the junior fishing matches being held at Charlton pond over the summer. GHOF Dave Munt was involved in the clean up of the original pond that has made it into the accessible, young people friendly community hub that it is now.

Charlton's PondCharlton's PondMany residents are surprised the first time they discover the site, nestled in the heart of the surrounding estates.  In the past its uncared for state attracted anti-social behaviour, but now with a well stocked pond, the local fishing club is thriving. Day and night you’ll see someone on the ponds. What’s more, the non-fishing members of the community are also starting to use the area.

When the junior match is called to an end and the weigh in begins, you can be lucky to get a space to see among the parents, grandparents, coaches, neighbours and club members following the officials round the pond.

Watching this ritual it’s clear that Charlton’s is more than a space for young people to fish, it is a site that allows both adults and young people to come together and share an experience, recognising some positive achievements of young people in the area.

Over the next few months I will be investigating further the impact a fishing ‘venue’ can have on the integration of socially excluded young people. As always I’m eager to know if there’s something similar near you, or your opinion on young people using ponds in your local area, or if you are a young person yourself.