Box youngsters clean up

Senior Youth Worker Tracy Stobbart with volunteers from the Box Youth Project cleaning up the area around their premises

Senior Youth Worker Tracy Stobbart with volunteers from the Box Youth Project cleaning up the area around their premises

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CARING youngsters have been working to give out a positive message about Wearside’s youth.

As reported in the Echo earlier this week, veteran broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan unfairly labelled Sunderland as having “mean streets”.

But the Box Youth Project, based in Hall Farm, have hit back at the claims, as they took to the streets as part of the Young Volunteers programme.

Teenagers aged 16 to 19 from the group got their hands dirty by cutting grass and picking up rubbish.

They have recently been given funding and support from elected members on Sunderland City Council’s East and West Area committees to run a series of volunteering activities throughout the summer holidays.

They hope to help children in the area reach their full potential while also making a positive contribution to their community.

Lisa Hall, manager of The Box Youth Project, said that it was good for residents in the area to see that most young people care about where they live after intense rioting in other parts of England earlier this month.

Lisa said: “We are proud of our young volunteers who have worked with organisations such as Friends of Doxford Park, Farringdon Jubilee Centre and Gentoo at a time when we were seeing some young people rioting in other parts of the country.

“We worked with Friends of Blakeney Woods group and undertook a mini tidy-up of the woods on Hall Farm Road.

“The FoBW group are keen to work with local youngsters to help preserve the only ancient woodland left in our city.

“It was like a breath of fresh air working with them because when you were seeing the news, a lot of the things they were seeing about young people certainly wasn’t true of Sunderland.

“The discussion I was having with the young people was that they were embarrassed by what they were seeing.”

Lisa added that residents who saw the group’s hard work praised them.

“A gentleman was walking past with his dog and he said it was a nice thing for youngsters to be doing, which is nice for them to hear,” said Lisa.

For more information about the Young Volunteers programme or Friends of Blakeney Woods, contact Lisa on 522 5031.

Twitter: @davidallison88