YOUNG people from Lancashire have spoken out about their determination to challenge negative stereotypes by helping their communities.

To do so, they have been taking part in a Prince's Trust programme with Lancashire Fire and Rescue that has seen them work to encourage donations to Accrington's Maundy Relief foodbank charity at a time when people are most in need.

For participants this is also about showing that whatever preconceptions people may have about younger age groups, this does not tell the full story.

Jordan Whitburn, 17, said: “I think that young people have a bad name because some people our age can't or don't want to go into education, they choose a different road and end up being criminals.

“This doesn't mean all of us are criminals, some people have a rough upbringing and can still be ok.

“The way I’m trying to change that view is to help as many people as I can, and this will spread positivity throughout the community.

"I will help as many people as I can and get the word out there that young people are not bad it's only a certain percentage of us."

Turning to the challenge of giving Maundy Relief the help they need despite lockdown, he added: “This is going to be hard, but I and the rest of the team are up for a challenge.”

The programme consists of a 12-week course in which teams of youngsters take part in community projects, workplace placements and team building exercises.

Meanwhile, many of Jordan’s teammates agree that negative media portrayals of the young have failed to show the full picture.

Team member Dominic Shaw said: “People around my age, 16 to 20, are negatively viewed and looked down on in society, names get thrown around like useless, lazy and unproductive.

“But my team isn't anything like that.”

Instead, Dominic pointed out that the team has been doing vital work collecting donations from local businesses despite having very little funding and being constrained by lockdown.

Team member Hayden said: “So far the course has been a little different than expected but I've enjoyed it so far with the people I've met and challenges I've faced.

“I feel the reason my generation have a bad reputation is because of the media and a lack of understanding, I plan on changing that view by taking part in this project to prove that my generation isn't as bad as everyone thinks and says.”

Course member Leon added that the Princes Trust programme has helped to challenging this view and help youngsters realise their potential.

He said: “Most young people get a bad name and rep, some are just lost and I think this course helps highlight the potential that every young person has by giving them the right structure and skills for them to become the best of themselves.”

He added: “There can be a lot of banter on the course between the students and staff which makes it enjoyable."

Another team member agreed.

They said: “Young people have a bad name as some teenagers do cause trouble, but not all of them.

“A lot of people think most teenagers as a nuisance and troublemakers due to the odd few.

“Whilst doing this course me and other young people hope to try and change your opinion on teenagers so you think of us other than lazy, troublemaking kids.”

Trust leaders meanwhile hope more young people will be inspired to join them.

Lancashire Telegraph:

The Prince's Trust supports young people across the country

Regional Director of the North at The Prince’s Trust Clair Crabb said: “The Prince’s Trust will always be there for young people across the UK, giving them a lifeline to overcome the toughest of challenges.

"At this critical time, we need businesses, government, and individuals to work with us to help as many vulnerable young people as possible.

To find out more about the Prince's Trust, go to: