A CONFERENCE to shape the future support available for young people in former pit villages has taken place.

Representatives from 17 organisations attended the Coalfields Conference at the Bethany Christian Centre, in Houghton-le-Spring, designed to identify areas for improvement in the services offered to young people.

The conference represents groups working in the parts of the former Durham coalfield which fall inside Wearside, including Hetton, Easington Lane, Copthill, Shiney Row, Herrington and Penshaw.

Lorna McLeod, centre manager at the YMCA Herrington Burn, said: "There are many groups offering vital services for young people in the coalfields area, particularly to those who are socially or educationally disadvantaged, but this is the first time an effort has been made to co-ordinate the efforts of the groups involved.