A COMMUNITY clean-up like no other has been taking place in a Washington subway.
Schoolchildren have been spending their Easter break smartening up the underpass – with street art.
Pupils from St John Boste Primary and Oxclose Secondary schools in Oxclose have been taking part in a design competition.
Winners were chosen from each school, and their artwork is being added to a subway in the village by a local graffiti artist and members of the Oxclose and District Youth Project.
Certificates were also handed out to the winners by Washington Neighbourhood Policing Team.
The activity formed part of the final Operation Lantern event – an initiative which has seen police and partners embark on community-based events to promote confidence and respect among young people in the community,
As well as the subway revamp, XL Youth Services were on hand with the youth bus and football cage to entertain youngsters. Oxclose Church opened up its tea-room to offer refreshments, and local officers gave out crime prevention advice to residents.
Paul Stewart, Neighbourhood Inspector for the area, said: “This was a real community event and marked the end of the various initiatives we have been able to offer Washington residents with our partners.
“This and other Operation Lantern events have allowed us to bring together all members of the community, to promote trust and confidence among residents and reduce the fear of crime.
“It’s also encouraged people of all ages to have pride and respect in their neighbourhoods.
“The subway is a perfect example of this.
“With its new artwork, it can now be a feature in the village, designed and used by those who go to school next to it.
“We’re pleased so many people have become involved in the operation, and even though it has come to an end, we will continue to work with our partners too boost community relations and maintain a safe and secure Washington.”
Councillor Harry Trueman, chairman of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, and deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’d like to thank everyone involved with this project for their hard work and congratulate them on this fantastic achievement on behalf of their community.”
He added: “The artwork demonstrates the tremendous pride young people have in where they live and the vital role they play in celebrating our shared cultural heritage.
“The success of initiatives such as Operation Lantern is that they provide the opportunity for people of all ages to get together to create an even greater sense of community spirit.”
Colin McCartney, head of operations, Washington, said: “By engaging with the local people, we can increase confidence and awareness of how we are making our communities safer places to live.”