A community garden planted by young people opened at Runcorn Fire Station has welcomed Derek to their facilities.
In working on the initiative the teenagers are sowing the seeds for a more constructive life, making a positive impact on their community. Several have come back saying their lives have been turned around by the project.
On Friday 10 December, Derek joined a group of local young people keen to show off the products by their hard work at the site.
Since last September, the young people have been engaged in transforming the station grounds from an open grass area into a fully functioning community allotment complete with raised planter beds, paths and compost bins.
The ongoing project is the brainchild of Community Space Challenge - a Big Lottery funded voluntary project targeting young people at risk of offending or committing anti social behaviour in the Halton area.
This five year programme, managed by national youth charity Catch22. supports young people across England to identify run down and neglected spaces within their community and to take action to make them cleaner, greener and available for the whole community to enjoy.
Young people on the scheme, run jointly by Halton and Warrington Councils and Halton Youth Inclusion & Support Panel, are expected to undertake four three hour sessions transforming 'unloved' areas of their community.
"I was pleased to be able to meet the young people and speak to them about a variety of issues. The Youth Offending Team are doing an excellent job giving invaluable support to these young people. I would also like to thank Cheshire Fire Brigade's Runcorn Fire Fighters who do such good work to support our young people."
Halton Borough Council's Project Manager Sean Creaney said:
"It is so refreshing to see young people taking positive steps to transform their own communities for the better."
The latest initiative on the Community Space Challenge programme is the Graffiti Removal Project. As part of this activity, 'graffiti hot spot areas' are identified by local councillors and members of the public who attend Halton Borough Council area forums. Using safe chemicals and a high powered jet washer, young people are able to remove graffiti from most surfaces and make communities visibly cleaner.