SPORTS equipment packs are being sent to 230 vulnerable families in south west Durham thanks to a joint volunteer project by Bishop Auckland College and Children North East.

The packs, which include a football, space hopper, tennis game, Frisbee, skipping rope and urban chalks, are being given to young people who have suffered from social isolation as a result of Covid.

They were designed and put together by staff from Children North East and 15 criminology, early years and public services students from the college.

They are being distributed by the North East Autism Society, Shildon Alive and the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust over the next few weeks.

The initiative is the first of three Youth Social Action volunteer projects that students at the college and Children North East are jointly working on, funded by #iwill (Step Up and Serve), National Lottery Fund, Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport, County Durham Community Foundation. The next will be a community family fun day in August.

Saffia Solomon, participation worker at Children North East, said: “We have been working with a group of young people from Bishop Auckland College, inspired by the #iwill Youth Social Action campaign.

“They designed and filled physical activity packs to send to 230 families impacted by the isolation of Covid-19 in Bishop Auckland, and selected three charities to benefit from a donation: North East Autism Society, Shildon Alive, and Solan Connor Fawcett.

“The group are continuing to positively impact their community, organising a family fun day in early August.”

Stacy Stoker, early years lecturer at the college, said: “This is a fantastic initiative which will benefit so many families who have been particularly affected by social isolation during the pandemic.

“I have been so impressed by the students who have taken part, showing so much empathy with the young people they are helping. We are looking forward now to planning for the family fun day in August.”