A team of unemployed young people are rolling up their sleeves to help their town’s Community Centre grow vegetables and fruit that will play a vital part in a new healthy eating project.

The 25K Community Centre in Redcar is used by hundreds of local people of all ages from members of the youth club to those with special needs and pensioners.

The nine young people, aged between 16 and 25, are taking part in the Prince’s Trust TEAM Programme run by Stockton Riverside College. The 12 week programme is designed to help them into employment or training and includes work experience, a residential trip, help with interview and job application skills and a community project chosen by the team members themselves.

Having presented their project to a Dragons Den style panel at UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business-support subsidiary awarded the team £1,250 to pay for the equipment and materials needed to refurbish the garden and create raised flower beds for planting.

“This is something we have wanted to do at the Centre for ages,” said Helen Higgs, Neighbourhood Youth Officer. “We couldn’t have been more delighted when the team told us they had chosen to help us and had secured funding from UK Steel Enterprise. Growing your own food and cooking it not only helps everyone to eat healthily and lay down good habits for a lifetime but is enjoyable too.

“The older members of the Centre are all ready to help out the younger ones with the planting, growing and cooking which means all ages will be working on this together,” she added.

Sarah Thorpe, Area Manager for UK Steel Enterprise, said: “We are keen supporters of the Prince’s Trust Team Programmes and have now backed around 50 on Teesside with more than £50,000 from our Community Support Fund, set up to help improve the lives of people living in our steel areas.

“They not only help unemployed young people acquire valuable new skills, including presenting their project to us for funding, but also the projects they complete are a real boost for our community centres, schools, youth clubs and other organisations.”

The chosen projects can range from decorating and providing equipment to re-furbishing rooms, children’s playgrounds and gardens.

“They give the team members such a sense of satisfaction to have helped their local community,” said Project Leader Craig Murphy. “They learn a whole range of new skills from budgeting, communication and presentation to teamwork and practical hands-on skills.”

PICTURE CAPTION: Sarah Thorpe of funder UK Steel Enterprise and Craig Murphy (right), Project Leader, with Prince’s Trust Team member Jack Beaumont starting work on the community garden project.

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