Teens work to inspire others with community clean-up

The National Citizen Service youngsters taking part in their community work.
The National Citizen Service youngsters taking part in their community work.

Teenagers are using their spare time to offer a free gardening service for elderly and vulnerable people.

The group, which only formed less than a month ago, aim to improve their local community while also changing unfair stereotypical opinions of their generation.

Two of the team in action.

Two of the team in action.

They have spent the last two Saturdays borrowing equipment to tidy up gardens in the Cleadon Park area of South Shields.

Known as Cutting eDGE, the group were formed by 16 and 17-year-olds undertaking their National Citizen Service (NCS) youth programme at South Tyneside College.

Mikey Sinclair, who has co-ordinated the youngsters’ work in his role as an NCS senior youth mentor, said: “This project began when the group of teens identified a need for improvement in their local community after speaking with residents and Councillor Jim Foreman.

“After many questionnaires and research, the group came to a decision to take action through gardening for the elderly and vulnerable.

The team in action.

The team in action.

“This includes removing litter and overgrown weeds for citizens that cannot do this themselves.

“This not only improves the look of the area and houses but allows the residents to get back in touch with the younger generation, see them as helpful and kind rather than stereotypical hooligans and misfits.”

Coun Foreman, who represents the Cleadon Park ward on South Tyneside Council, knew people who were able to loan the teenagers gardening equipment and identified residents who could benefit from the group’s efforts.

One, Hilary de Birch, said: “A great job was done tidying up my front garden, for which I was most grateful. We don’t often hear of positive news of our youth.”

NCS courses offer teenagers aged 15-17 the opportunity to learn skills to help them with future job, training and university applications. The South Tyneside group, who come from South Shields, Jarrow and Hebburn, are due to complete their quickfire three-week programme this Saturday and hope it will inspire similar acts from other teenagers.

Member Aidan Cook said: “I’m so glad I can be part of this social action project. I really think we can make a difference to the community.”

The group also include Alice Birkett, Lana Hamodi, Ben Feetham, Jack Wilson, Kaylyn Carroll, Keeley McGurk, Matthew Shovlin, Michael Hall, Nathan Watson, Ollie Blake, Tahmi Rahman and Tania Abdul.

Anyone wanting a garden tidied up this weekend can contact Mr Sinclair by emailing michael.sinclair@headliners.org,