YOUTH facilities are set to be boosted in South Tyneside, thanks to a £1m Lotto bonanza.
The Big Local scheme aims to improve life for people in central Jarrow over the next decade.
Residents were this week given the chance, at a drop-in session at Grange Road Baptist Church in Jarrow, to say how they would like money from the Big Lottery Fund spent to improve life in the town.
And one of the main demands was for better youth provision in the town.
Grandmother Sheila Spour, 76, of Greenbank Villas, Jarrow, said: “There is simply not enough for young people.
“We need to spend some of this money to get young people working and give them something to do.”
Big Local representative Linda Clark agreed, saying boosting youth provision would be one of the scheme’s priorities.
Mrs Clark said: “Young people came out on top in the list of demands. We aim to provide training opportunities through the scheme and get young people into employment, plus give them something to do at night.
“Hopefully, one of the major elements of the scheme will be the appointment of a youth detached worker, to work with young people and open up training and other opportunities.
“We are also planning a gardening and landscaping project, involving 16 to 19-year-olds.
“The plan is to spend around £120,000 in the first year of the scheme.”
The Rev Roy Merrin, chairman of the Big Local partnership board for central Jarrow, said this week’s drop-in event at his church was just the latest in a series of public consultation sessions held over the last 18 months.
He said: “We have provided for a community chest, are making bids and will put ideas to a local trust as part of Big Local.
“This will hopefully release funding from the £1m to be spent over the next 10 years.”
There are 150 Big Local schemes across England, the nearest one to Jarrow being in Whitley Bay, all aimed at making what officials call “a massive and lasting positive difference to their communities”.
Individual applications, worth up to £500, can be made through Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle, based at the Eco Centre in Windmill Way, Hebburn.
Call 428 1144 for details.