Offenders build path

YOUNG offenders in the borough are working to give something back to the community.

Work is underway to clear rubbish and build a new pathway at Forest Hall Primary School to improve access to wildlife ponds for school children.

The project is being delivered by small supervised groups of young offenders, as they work to complete their community service.

The Environment Agency, Living Waterways and Newcastle City Council have worked together to develop the £20k project, which will directly reduce flood risk and enhance stream environments in local neighbourhoods.

The money will be used to pay for tools, safety equipment, materials, storage and transport. Newcastle City Council’s Youth Offending Team are supervising the work.

As well as delivering physical works on the ground, the young people will also be responsible for planning, designing and communicating the work – to build skills, interest in the environment, social responsibility and employability.

Peter Kerr, local levy manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We wanted to give these young people a chance to build new skills whilst providing direct benefits to the communities they are working in.

“I hope that local communities will positively engage with the project, and see both the streams and the young people involved in a fresh light.”

To date, six more locations for work on the Longbenton, Foresthall and Gosforth Letches have been identified for further projects, including river debris and blockage removal.

This year, the project is expected to work with at least 30 young people who will deliver a total of roughly 240 hours of supervised activity in the community.