Young caring for each other

Left to right: Candy Owens, Mayor Linda Arkley, and Katie Duncanson in the new kitchen.

Left to right: Candy Owens, Mayor Linda Arkley, and Katie Duncanson in the new kitchen.

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TEENAGERS turned DIY experts to help renovate a room for others to use.

The youngsters who are part of North Tyneside’s Children In Care Council, a group which represents the voice of looked-after children in the borough, were aiming to create a comfortable and relaxed setting for young people in care to enjoy contact with their birth families.

The group secured a space in Elm House, based at Riverside Children’s Centre in North Shields, and set about transforming it into a modern, funky and welcoming venue.

Their work involved stripping the room bare, re-designing it, painting, buying a kitchen, flooring, furniture and accessories.

The teenagers also bid for the money to pay for the project.

The new space now features a large, modern living area including sofas, cushions and a TV.

Mayor Linda Arkley said: “This group have shown initiative, imagination and perseverance to successfully complete this project.

“They are clearly proud of their work, and so they should be – the result is simply fantastic and surpassed any of my expectations.

“This group of young people have selflessly given up their own time to create a space for the benefit of their peers and friends, and that is highly commendable.”

Katie Duncanson, a member of the Children in Care Council, said: “At my contact there were broken games and it was a creche. It wasn’t very homely, and it didn’t have a kitchen, but here I can chat with my family and watch TV.”

And Candy Owens, 19, added: “I am looking forward to having all our Children In Care Council meetings in one place from now on.

“It’s nice we have our own room. We don’t have to worry about being a little noisy and it’s more relaxed.”