DEDICATED volunteers have been getting their hands dirty to prove not all teenagers are troublemakers.
Youngsters in Blackburn have been trying to change the perception within the community after a small minority of their peers carried a spate of vandalism in Corporation Park.
Vandals caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to a 140-year-old statue, called Flora, by breaking its leg off with a large stone.
Just a week later 55 panes of glass were smashed in the park’s conservatory, which has listed building status.
Earlier this month eight young people gave up their time to carry out a litter pick in the park.
Now the Lifeline project, a drug and alcohol service for those under 25, and The Challenge Network — a charity striving to fulfil the government’s National Citizen Service — are working with the neighbourhood community team and residents to identify more key issues the youngsters can help with.
Raj Ubhi, team leader at Lifeline East Lancashire, said: “There can be this misconception that all young people have a negative impact on the community and not only is this inaccurate, it can be damaging to the prospects of young people and further encourage negative behaviour. We need to focus more on identifying and nurturing the skills, talents and opportunities these young people have as opposed to describing only the problems.
“This approach is bringing about positive changes in many young people working with Lifeline East Lancashire’. There are young people like these who make a very positive contribution and if children are offered the right support and encouragement they will flourish. We hope that by bridging the gap between residents and young people we will really make a difference to our communities.”
Police investigating the vandalism have arrested two 18-year-old men and a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of criminal damage and they have been bailed until November 22.