A YOUTH scheme has received police praise for helping to curb antisocial behaviour.
And to help the good work of the Youth Almighty Project carry on, police have given the group a cash boost so youth workers can continue to get youngsters involved in activities.
The funding from police and the local multi-agency partnership (Lmaps) has already helped the Silksworth-based project organise an event with young people from the nearby skatepark as part of Sunderland Adventure Week.
Young people have taken part in litter picks, salt gritting in the winter and gardening for older residents.
Neighbourhood Inspector Cheryl Warcup, who covers Silksworth, said: “One of the main concerns for residents is young people hanging around in the street and while they may not be doing any harm, it can be intimidating.
“On the other hand, young people tell us they don’t have anywhere to go and while the majority are well-behaved, there can be a few individuals who are trouble-makers.
“The Youth Almighty Project has seen youth workers encourage people to get involved in other activities.
“They’ve taken groups bowling, to the climbing wall and on bike rides, all of which give them something else to do other than hanging around on the street.
“Not only that, the project has encouraged youngsters to get involved in volunteering in the community and doing litter picks and gardening for some of the older residents.
“Projects like this play an important role in helping the police to tackle antisocial behaviour and make our communities even safer and nicer places to live.”
Project volunteer Phil Tye said the youth group works closely with police, which has also helped strengthen the relationship between beat bobbies and youngsters living in the area.
He said: “The trust that’s there between the young people and police is something I’ve never seen before.
“Now we can have a local officer walking in and the kids will freely talk to them with confidence, which is great for both sides. The project definitely gives young people something to do.”
Coun Tom Foster, Safer Sunderland Partnership chairman, added: “Young people play an important role in our city and projects like this give them a fantastic opportunity to contribute even more to our communities by getting involved in volunteering and other positive activities.”