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 Lord Lieutenant given tour of Peterlee community projects


​COMMUNITY projects across the Peterlee area played host to County Durham’s Lord Lieutenant last week.

Lord Lieutenant Sue Snowdon visited six of the town’s ongoing projects on Friday, November 30, to get a taste of how partner agencies are working together to provide communities with support and positive diversionary activities.

In particular, the tour focussed on projects providing young people with opportunities for social and professional development.

The visit was hosted by representatives from Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council, and Peterlee Town Council.

PCSO Michelle Burr, from Peterlee Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The best way to see the real results we’re achieving is to see it first-hand.

“We wanted to give Sue the opportunity to meet the people directly affected, and to hear their stories of the real changes in their lives that these projects have brought about.”

The tour began at 12pm, where Mrs Snowdon was greeted at Horden & Peterlee Rugby Club by local residents and members of the Eden Hill Community Project.

From there, the group moved to Gleeson Homes’ Stephenson Road building site, where 16-year-old Olivia Ward is serving as an apprentice, following her engagement with other police led youth projects.

PCSO Burr said: “Olivia is a shining example of how a young person can be diverted away from a life of anti-social behaviour, and towards a promising, fulfilling career that is rewarding not only to her, but to the whole community.”

Town councillors, the Local Residents Association, and local school children next showed Mrs Snowdon around Woodhouse Park’s new community garden, which was opened this year by a partnership team of police, councillors and residents. The Lord Lieutenant took a moment to assist two youngsters in planting broccoli in one of the garden’s flower beds.

At 2.30pm, Mrs Snowdon was given an inside look at the major refurbishment currently underway at Peterlee Leisure Centre. Here, local youth have been taken on by Durham County Council’s Direct Services building team for work experience and apprenticeships via the police’s Sliding Door project, which aims to assist participants on the cusp of anti-social behaviour in gaining the experience they need to find employment after education.

Tea and cake was served up at Castle Eden Dene Park Centre, where volunteers showcased their efforts in improving the local environment, and engaging young people in making a difference in their area rather than damaging it.

Finally, the Lord Lieutenant arrived at ‘The Project’ on Burnhope Way, where some of the town’s most challenging young people are being engaged by youth workers. Mrs Snowdon was delighted to hear how the young people were being diverted away from anti-social behaviour by attending hour-long education sessions on topics from alcohol and drugs to sexual health and sexual exploitation. Following the sessions, there are games of table tennis, pool, and other activities available.

Up to 50 young people are attending each of these sessions.

Scott Meikle, Mayor of Peterlee, said: “Peterlee Town Council is really proud of the brilliant results that we're seeing in the town through engaging with young people and helping them to shape a better future for themselves.

“We hope that the Lord Lieutenant got a really good sense of the hard work that local agencies and the people of Peterlee are investing in our young people to help them make good choices and become the young heroes that we know they can be.”

Many of the ongoing projects comprise what PCSO Burr calls ‘creative community policing’, which uses the principles of the three E’s to solve problems in the long term: Engage, Educate and Enforce.