A GROUP of teenagers, who are hoping to improve the image of young people on a South Tyneside estate, are already reaping the benefits.
Members of Horsley Hill Youth Project have received a £500 donation from an anonymous businessman from the area after he was impressed with their work.
Since talking with police and councillors at South Tyneside’s first Youth Partners and Community Together meeting, the youngsters have been working on how they can help to reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.
Since then, they have signed contracts stating they would only be in the area when necessary – to alleviate calls to police from residents who saw them as gangs hanging around Horsley Hill Square and outside the shops.
The move comes after the issue of how young people are perceived when standing in large crowds was raised during the meeting. The money will now be used to fund a residential trip to council-owned cottages in Akenshawburn, Kielder, Northumberland, where they will take part in outdoor activities, and work on a policy to be passed on to younger members of the project to ensure their efforts carry on in the future.
Geordie Pearce, a senior youth worker at the project, based at the Marsden Road Health and Wellbeing Centre in South Shields, said: “The young people really took on board what was said at the PACT meeting.
“They found it really useful, as they felt as though people in authority did want to hear about what they had to say as young people.
“It also gave them a greater understanding of the role of the police and the council, and how standing in large crowds can be daunting for older people, and can be misconcieved as anti-social behaviour.
“The teenagers are also keen that their efforts in improving the image of young people are passed on to the younger members of the group, so their work can continue.”