Youngsters improve area in summer of a lifetime

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YOUNG people in North Shields have been hard at work through the summer holidays coming up with ideas on how to improve a public space in the town centre.

The 12 youngsters have been working with North Shields Chamber of Trade for the past six weeks to make recommendations for the improvement of Northumberland Square.

The challenge was part of VODA’s Summer of a Lifetime programme, part of the National Citizen Service.

And this week the young participants presented their findings to chamber members, including the town centre manager, at an event at the town’s YMCA.

And the chamber was so impressed that they plan to enter discussions with North Tyneside Council to develop their ideas.

Sarah-Anne Kirsopp, 16, said: “Taking part in this project has given me the chance to build my confidence and develop lots of skills like time management and leadership.

“I have been able to learn about local history and understand the contributions made by local business.

“I hope our work will lead to Northumberland Square becoming a more popular place for visitors.”

Peer volunteer Alex Holding of Wallsend has been helping out with the Summer of a Lifetime project.

The 23-year-old said: “During this programme, I have witnessed the young people continually growing in confidence and rising to a number of challenges along the way.

“I have really appreciated the opportunity to project manage this initiative in partnership with the chamber of trade.”

Chamber chairman, David Bavaird, added: “I have been really impressed with the young people involved in this project.

“They have demonstrated excellent leadership and project management skills.

“The chamber of trade greatly values the contribution that young people can make to the local area.”