From their centre in Brandon the Carrside Youth and Community Project embraces Meadowfield, Langley Moor, Ushaw Moor, Esh Winning and New Brancepeth, offering a year-round safe haven for young people to develop skills, learn more about themselves and take a more active role in their communities.
For a month, during late July and into August more than 70 youngsters aged 11 to 16 from families across the area, got the chance to enjoy a special programme of outdoor activities, offering new opportunities to build positive memories and experiences.
While Mondays and Tuesdays were reserved for community activities and craft workshops, Wednesdays and Fridays were set aside for off-site outdoor activities the centre’s older members would not normally have access to. The fun included horse riding, surfing, ice skating, bowling in North Shields, a sand castle competition at Whitley Bay, kayaking and raft building on the River Wear at Chester-le-Street.
At the same time an equal number of children under eleven enjoyed community sessions centred in Brandon and Esh Winning
As part of the same programme organisers provided opportunities to improve youngsters cooking skills, encouraged healthy eating and also provided healthy meals to combat their holiday hunger. Additionally, at the end of the programme, each participant left with a special cooking pack to take home for their family’s benefit.
All the summer-time escapades, which project co-ordinator Rachael Avery estimated had cost £14,000, was underwritten by grants and donations from seven benefactors.
“We are very grateful for the freemen’s generosity and it contributed significantly towards our programme and it has benefited families during this on-going cost of living crisis and the long six-week break,” said Rachael.
Eric Bulmer, chairman of the freemen’s charitable trust said: “We are pleased to support a local community group and its dedicated volunteers who are making a difference to the lives of young people, particularly in uncertain and challenging times.”