The number of youth workers in Darlington will more than double in an expansion of the town's services for young people.

A £340,000 budget increase has led to the appointment of six more members of staff, who will each be dedicated to an urban area of Darlington, taking the number of staff from four to ten.

Rural areas surrounding Darlington will also be given more attention, with one youth worker covering them, as part of the drive to increase youth provision across the town. The service has been under pressure to improve in the wake of a damning report from education watchdog Ofsted in May, which rated them as "inadequate" in every area.

The appointment of several full-time staff - in addition to voluntary workers - is the first time each area of Darlington has had a worker to tackle its specific issues and problems.

Mervyn Bell, who was appointed head of the youth service in September, pledged that the new workers would have a noticeable impact when they took up their roles in April.

"We will have one full-time experienced worker in five areas of Darlington, working with young people on the front line, to find out about them and what they want," he said.

"There will also be one person purely responsible for the rural wards.

"We've never before had the capacity to put people on the ground before and it will help us to reach out to young people.

"They can be sure a youth worker will be coming to visit them soon.

"We need to work in partnership with community groups to maximise the help and support we can give. We need to use effectively what we have got.

"The new workers account for the large majority of the £340,000 but we might still have some to be able to employ young people in part-time capacities."

Mr Bell said that although improvements have already been made since the Ofsted verdict, the staffing increase could play a major role.

"Although they rated us as inadequate across the board, we were able to take positives from our work with young people and the motivated, committed and dedicated staff team.

"Our staff were literally busting a gut to work with loads of young people, but really we were trying to do too much.

"That is why the increase of workers will be so important."