A TEAM of young people rolled up their sleeves to help transform a community nature reserve for the benefit of local people.

The group of students who are taking part in The Prince’s Trust Team programme, raised more than £500 to fund the project at the Maidendale Nature and Fishing Reserve, on the outskirts of Darlington.

Over two weeks the group of nine students from Stockton Riverside College cleared a small area of the reserve to create a picnic area for families and visitors, complete with stepping stones and a balance beam for children, as well as raised beds to grow flowers and vegetables.

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Darlington team leader Katrine Davidson said: “Right from the beginning, the team really embraced the idea of creating a nice space for the community and they all got stuck in.

“The community project helps to instil a sense of community spirit into our young people.

“It helps them to respect their community and recognise that people put hard work into making it nice.”

She added: “Also what’s been nice about this project is that people can sometimes have quite a negative view of young people, so hopefully seeing the team working hard to do something good for the community can help to change those perceptions.”

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 12-week scheme giving unemployed young people aged from 16 to 25 the skills and confidence they need to help them find a job or move into education.

The Darlington scheme is one of eight Prince’s Trust Team programmes delivered by Stockton Riverside College, with teams also running in Stockton, Billingham, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Peterlee, Bishop Auckland and Newton Aycliffe.

The area will now go on to be maintained by the Friends of Maidendale Nature Reserve.