FIVE teenagers helped clean up a housing estate as part of a scheme to help them into work.

The volunteers, all aged from 16 to 19, jet-washed paths, cleaned shop fronts, pulled up weeds and picked litter on the Gibside estate in Chester-le-Street.

They are all taking part in the Back On Track programme, run by the Foundation of Light charity and supported by housing provider Cestria Community Housing.

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Michael Hall, grounds maintenance manager with Cestria, said: “This was a perfect opportunity to clean up the shops for the owners in Gibside.

“It’s giving them a bit of a taste of what we do and provides a nice service for the local residents. The kids did an amazing job.”

Cestria’s community caretakers maintain the grounds of all their properties by cutting grass, shrub bed maintenance, path edging and tree cutting.

Back on Track gives young people who are not in education, employment or training the chance to learn job related skills and gain qualifications.

It is free and the programme runs two and a half days a week for 30 weeks.

David Laidler, Foundation of Light Back on Track Educational Officer, said: “We are very grateful to Cestria for giving the learners this opportunity to experience a real-life work situation”.

Participants on the programme are given lunch money and their travel expenses are reimbursed.

For further information, contact David Laidler at the Foundation of Light on 0191-551-5319.