A FORTNIGHT of fun and sports has been planned in a bid to crack down on Bonfire Night anti-social behaviour.
Community groups across South Tyneside have joined forces to organise a series of events designed to keep young people entertained during the Halloween and Bonfire Night festivities.
The diversonary activities have been organised as part of the Darker Nights campaign – a joint venture between Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police, South Tyneside Homes and South Tyneside Council, aimed at reducing illegal sales of fireworks, unauthorised bonfires, and criminal damage.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service watch manager, Ray Houghton, said: “We want young people to be able to enjoy the festivities safely, and the activities we have planned this year enables them to do this, as well as deter them from engaging in anti-social behaviour.”
“Every year, the activities are well-attended and we have had some great feedback from the young people who attend.” Last year’s campaign saw the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour fall by 42 per cent.
Included in this year’s programme of events are Halloween parties, pizza nights and community clean-ups.
Young people from Boldon have been out and about litter picking in a bid to clear the streets of rubbish in the run-up to Bonfire Night.
The clean-up was organised by South Tyneside Positive Activities Boldon Youth Project, in conjunction with South Tyneside Homes and police.
Project co-ordinator Cheryl Spammer said: “We have had about 12 young people turn out to help clean the streets around Boldon Colliery as part of the Darker Nights campaign.
“For us, the activity is about instilling community pride in the young people.
“All the young people who turned out for the community clean-up will all receive a cinema voucher. It has been really good fun and the young people have worked really well with the police and South Tyneside Homes.”
Coun Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Activities like these provide our young people with things to do and places to go over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.
“They not only help to keep them safe and off the streets by encouraging them to channel their energy into something constructive but help to divert them away from the risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour, which is good for local communities.
“They also enable young people to get together with friends and have a great time.”