Well, last Thursday I held my sixth ‘sum it up’ event – #UNMS2021. It went really well and the interactive format was spot on.
For years I’ve had our international youth on the ‘to do’ list at each United Nationalities of Marbella event, but this year they were the only subject discussed: how to create suitable hang out spaces for them, offer them a chance to try working at, or at least visiting, local businesses and to create career opportunities for them, so they can stay in the city they’ve grown up in.
If we don’t, what are they meant to do? It’s all well and good for us parents to come to live a better life in the sun, but what does that really mean for our kids when they hit their teen years? Will they have to live abroad away from us because we didn’t offer them what they needed? They are the future of our city if we want to keep it vibrant and help businesses survive all year round. A good first step is to not let our thousands of children leave because there’s nothing for them to do or nowhere to go.
Having so many prominent guests at the event, all so dedicated to these topics, writing down ideas, suggesting contacts and how they could personally get involved was nothing but a privilege. It was quite a stretch to ask such prestigious members of our international community to dedicate so many hours to the event and I cannot thank each and every one enough for having done so.
If our youth are made to feel welcome and involved and valued, they will become loyal customers forever; surely MacDonald’s has demonstrated that.
Something that doesn’t ‘sell’ however and certainly isn’t good for business was another key issue discussed: the increasing suicide pandemic that needs to be addressed immediately and specifically. A UNM sub-committee has already been formed to ensure this is followed up; with the ‘festive’ season just around the corner there is no time to waste.
The Barandilla Suicide Prevention association and Gibraltar Samaritans were present and the figures they shared on the subject had the whole room dumbstruck, particularly regarding very young children who have taken their lives. Everyone agreed that we need to help provide 24-hour helplines. At the moment La Barandilla is only for Spanish, you can call 911 385 385 from 9am to 9pm, 365 days a year.
Gib Sams is from 6pm to midnight daily and their number in Gibraltar is 116 123. They speak English and also offer a live chat, which makes a lot of sense, as our younger generation often find it hard to talk on the telephone but have no problem texting.
Hopefully, together, we can help convert both services into 24 hours.
If you’d like to keep informed of how to participate on any of the above please visit the web www.u-n-m.org
Nicole King’s opinions are her own and are not necessarily representative of those of the publishers, advertisers or sponsors.