YOUNG people started work last night on a graffiti design to highlight the benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.

Up to 25 people from Stanley met at the Stanley Youth Centre for a permanent "5 A Day" graffiti wall.

They also got the chance to try some new and unusual fruit and vegetables while working on the design.

Young people will be working alongside Graham Clelland, graffiti artist and Gillian Watson, from Derwentside Primary Care Trust's A Healthier Future, project to turn the wall in the gym at the centre into a colourful collage with a healthy fruit and vegetable theme.

The project is a partnership between Derwentside Primary Care Trust and Stanley Youth Centre with funding from Neighbourhood Renewal Funds.

The wall is expected to be finished next month and will hopefully become an important feature of the youth centre.

Ms Watson said: "The graffiti wall will be a permanent reminder of the 5 A Day message, which is that eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables (400g) a day can help to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, and will help to protect your health.

"This project will give local children and young people the opportunity to learn fruit and vegetables and the 5 A Day message in a fun and innovative way.

"The PCT is working closely with schools in the Derwentside area to offer advice and support on how to improve the health of local school children.

"Raising awareness of the importance of eating healthily, in particular fruit and vegetables, is essential if we are to see fitter and healthier people in the future."