A YOUNG parents' group will be launched in Shildon next week.

Tots and Teens will be opened at the Jubilee Centre on Tuesday, and is open to parents aged 13 to 19 from the area.

The group has been set up by health visitors from Sedgefield Primary Care Trust (PCT) in response to suggestions from local young parents.

The venue and title of the group were selected by the parents, and they will meet every Tuesday from noon to 2pm.

Health visitor Janet Thompson, who helped develop the group, said: "Teenage pregnancies in the Shildon area are higher than the national average and it is obviously a priority area.

"The Tots and Teens group will be a great opportunity for young parents in the area to get together on a regular basis, to support each other and receive any advice or information they may need from health professionals or other agencies."

The group aims to encourage parents to complete their own education, promote mental and physical health, reduce child poverty and give advice on health and youth issues.

Debbie Claydon, a 19-year-old mother from the Shildon area, said: "The reason we don't come to the other parent groups is that the people on them are a lot older than us.

"This group will be better because it is aimed at our age group and we can give support to each other."

Young parents interested in coming to the group can contact Shildon Health Centre on (01388) 774668.