Forces families replace equipment after thieves’ £2,000 raid on Sunderland youth project

Carla Cuthbertson front right and Linda Fisken of Brothers in Arms with members of the A690 Youth Initiative, Grindon lane, Sunderland after they had presented �2,000 to replace stolen equipment, on Friday.
Carla Cuthbertson front right and Linda Fisken of Brothers in Arms with members of the A690 Youth Initiative, Grindon lane, Sunderland after they had presented �2,000 to replace stolen equipment, on Friday.
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A CHARITY has stepped up to replace the items stolen from a Sunderland youth project.

Members of the A690 Youth Initiative were left devastated when raiders broke in and stole £2,000 worth of televisions and computer equipment, which the young people had bought themselves through fund-raising.

However, the children were smiling again when members from the city’s Brothers in Arms charity, went along to break the news to the group that they would be donating £2,000 to replace the stolen items.

Nick Hill, senior development worker at the A690 project, which is based next to Sandhill View School, said the young people were thrilled.

He said: “We told them all to come in because we had something important to tell them.

“They were so excited and are going through brochures pricing up items to decide what they want to buy.”

Carla Cuthbertson, a founder member of Brothers in Arms, which was set up to raise money to build a memorial wall to young service men and women from the city, went along to tell the young people about the donation.

All of Carla’s three sons, including Private Nathan Cuthbertson, who was just 19 when he was killed on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, in June 2008, had been members of the A690.

She said youth clubs have such an important role to play in keeping teenagers off the streets and out of trouble, so they can go on to find careers, including joining the armed forces.

Carla’s husband, Tom, said: “I was sitting reading the Echo when I saw that £2,000 worth of equipment had been stolen.

“I turned to Carla and we both decided that we should make a donation to the youth centre.

“They have 150 kids coming through the doors and it’s such a valuable project, we thought what better way to spend the money than to give it to the young people.”

Months of hard fund-raising work by members of the A690 Youth Initiative saw the young people generate cash to buy the entertainment systems in the first place.

They were left devastated when thieves broke into the Grindon Lane premises on the evening of Wednesday, October 29, and stole two new 50in televisions, a PlayStation4 games console and games.

More than 150 young people use the centre on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights and worked so hard to buy the extra items.

As well as the donation from Brothers in Arms, a parent has also donated a Wii console for the teenagers.