Meet the National Citizen Service teenagers helping to clean up popular Sunderland parks
Community-minded teenagers have cleaned up four Sunderland parks in a bid to give back to those who live and work in the city.
Ten youngsters from Sunderland have taken part in the National Citizen Service programme which has seen them spend four weeks learning vital skills to help them in the future.
From team building and independence, to the value of giving back to the local community – the group of 16-year-olds have invested their time in the course led by team leaders Tom Goundry and Esther Ajayi, 19.
The group was one of a number taking part in the NCS scheme in the city during the summer, which kicked off on July 9.
Its first two weeks saw the young people spend 10 days away from home during residential exercises at Ford Castle Berwick and in student accommodation in Sunderland.
The team also spend time thinking of ways in which they would like to help the community and how they would go about doing it.
After taking part in a survey in Sunderland the group decided to clean up four Sunderland parks – Barnes Park, Mowbray Park, Backhouse Park and Barley Mow Park.
The youngsters cleaned up Barnes Park on Saturday, July 27, and then tackled the three other parks on Monday, July 29.
They collected around 30 bags of rubbish in total.
Team leader Tom Goundry, 24, who works as an NCS recruiter, said: “The group had four days to plan what they wanted to do.
“They carried out a survey in Sunderland and found that one of the main issues that people were bothered about was litter.
“So the group decided to clean up four parks in Sunderland.
“They found that Mowbray Park had the most litter and collected 15 bags full just from there.
“Afterwards the young people had a real buzz from helping the community.”
The group also spent time volunteering at a care home in Ashbrooke where they painted three murals to be used at a carnival for the residents.
NCS member Rebecca Cooper, 16, said: “It was a great way of giving back to the community and the programme was very good for team building.”