A YOUTH theatre group has been inundated with donations of school and sport equipment ahead of an upcoming trip to Jamaica.

Twenty-six members of Bishop Auckland Theatre Hooligans (Bath) will travel to Montego Bay later this week to work with school and community leaders to improve facilities for young people.

And when the group, based at King James I Academy, issued a plea for supplies they received an overwhelming response.

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From sports equipment and clothing, to stationary and bathroom products – the donations came thick and fast.

Bath founder Stephen Elliott, head of drama at King James, said: “The support for the Jamaica project in the Bishop Auckland community is amazing.

"It has grown much stronger since we have brought our Jamaican friends over here, as people were able to meet the young people we are supporting.”

The ten-day trip will be group’s eighth visit to the Caribbean island and an action-packed programme of voluntary work, dance and drama has been planned.

This will include teaching literacy, numeracy and art at three primary schools and decorating a toilet block at a local nursery school.

Since 2007, Bath, King James I Academy, Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, Victoria Lane Academy in Coundon and the wider community have raised more than £100,000 for the Jamaica project.

The money has paid for vital education resources, facilities, such as the toilet block, and the Bath Fund, a float of money, which teachers can use to buy shoes or other essential items for children in need.

Jamaican students and dignitaries have also visited Bishop Auckland and taught dance and music.

Asha Shakir, 14, has been a member of Bath for three-and-a-half years and is delighted to have a place on the trip.

“I am really excited,” she said. “It will be a brilliant experience. We have seen videos of people helping people and to have the opportunity to be part of it is amazing.”

Mr Elliott added: “The Jamaica trip is the ultimate award for Bath members. You don’t just get a place. You have to show commitment and be passionate about the project.”

Bath would like to thank all the companies and individuals who have donated, including Cre8tive Graphics, JT Atkinson, Virgin Atlantic, Sainsbury’s, Newcastle United Football Club, Kings Cobra Muay Thai Boxing and Ali’s Store in South Church.