Teenagers help brighten up Sunderland autism college

Teenagers brighten up Sunderland ESPA centre's outdoor space.

Teenagers brighten up Sunderland ESPA centre's outdoor space.

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A GROUP of teenagers from across the city have helped brighten up the lives of others.

The young people aged 16 and 17 years old spent four weeks over the summer taking part in the National Citizens Scheme, NCS, run by Groundwork North East and Cumbria.

Kerry Gibson, a youth worker with the project, said: “We take the group on a two-week residential, where the first week is about pushing themselves to the limit doing activities they wouldn’t normally do in day-to-day life and the second week is about learning different skills.”

She said the following two weeks are about changing something in the community, either by fund-raising for a local charity or creating a better space in the community or for a good cause.

Kerry said her group decided they wanted to do something hands on and chose revamping the outside space at the ESPA College in Sunderland’s Ashbrooke, which caters for young people with autism.

The group applied for a £300 grant from the 02 Think Big project, which they used to buy painting materials, and also got some items donated from Homebase and money off garden furniture.

Kerry said: “They managed to create a bright and colourful environment for the service users of the charity.

“They chose to do something they could see taking shape, rather than fundraising, and they were really pleased with the end result. They really enjoyed themselves as well.”

The youth worker said the staff at ESPA were also thrilled with the new-look garden and bought the team a card and a thank you gift for all their hard work.