Teens build a brighter future as they help community by putting their new skills to good use

A fix it crew have put their new skills to the test by revamping two community buildings through a pilot project which aims to keep students clear of trouble.

By Fiona Thompson
Friday, 29 March, 2019, 09:43
Members of Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team check out progress as the new kitchen is fitting in their police station.

The Sliding Door programme has been launched in Peterlee in the wake of anti-social behaviour in the town centre and could be rolled out elsewhere if it proves to be a success.

The first intake of four teenage boys has seen them work alongside Durham County Council’s joiners as they work towards an NVQ Level 2 in construction, with work on improvements to Peterlee Leisure Centre and a new kitchen inside the town’s police station the focus of their work so far.

Durham County Council's joinery team have helped support the project.

The idea brings together Durham Constabulary, the council and East Durham College and works with 14 to 16-year-olds outside a mainstream school environment.

Police Community Support Officer Michelle Burr is helping to run the scheme, which has won the support of Chief Inspector Lee Blakelock and Inspector Emma Kay.

She said: “We are looking to tackle the anti-social behaviour in Peterlee town centre and this project came from that and our three Es - enforcement, education and engagement.

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“We are trying to brake down barriers between young people in Peterlee and the police.
“We had a kitchen donated by Howdens Joinery for the project, so the four boys came over, off the work at the leisure centre for two or three days with one of the council’s joiners, and it looks really good.

The team at work as they build a new kitchen inside Peterlee Police Station.

“It’s helped them learn about the working day, so they’re in at 8am, finish at 4.30pm, and it’s giving them transferable life skills.

“We’ve seen some brilliant results so far, they’re doing really well.”

The policing team has also launched the StreetGames session in part of Asda car park to give young people a place to spend their spare time.