YOUNGSTERS and community groups have been rewarded for their endeavours with cash to keep up the good work.

Grant-giving venture CharityShop4U handed out more than £5,000 in grants on Saturday to help young people in the Greater Willington area which includes Willington, Hunwick, Oakenshaw, Sunnybrow and Page Bank.

Last year, the organisation invested more than £2,000 in the area’s young people but after a good year of sales at its charity shop on Willington High Street, the growing team of volunteers headed by Ros Glasper more than doubled that for 2019.

The volunteers also presented the Young Achiever of the Year Award and cup to Anya Lowes and a runners-up certificate to Aimee Fletcher.

Over the last four years, Anya has become a fantastic role model as both a player and volunteer at Willington Cricket Club. She has played for the Under 11s, 13s, 15s and 18s and was selected for Durham County U13s and U15s. As a volunteer she helps with the junior coaching nights and the girls’ teams and qualified as a scorer and scores every weekend for the first and third teams.

Aimee has attended almost every session at Team Warrior TKD Willington since it opened three and a half years ago, helps new starters and young students to improve without needing to be asked and trains extremely hard for her black belt.

Grants went to Oakenshaw Community Association for summer coaching for children, Sunnybrow Primary School for break-time equipment to aid pupils' physical development, St Stephen’s CE School for books, Primary Schools Support Willington Area towards out-of-school projects, Willington Primary School for emotional wellbeing books and sensory toys, Jazzmyn Loring towards training and equipment, 4th Willington Scouts towards attending Star Camp astronomy and science event, Team Warrior TKD for taekwondo equipment, Hunwick Cricket Club to help a new girls team, Willington Youth Under Sevens Football Team to help join a league, Spectrum Spartans Rink Hockey Club for travel to competitions, Our Lady & St Thomas RC School for books, Abi McCourt for travel to U20s ball hockey and ice hockey trials, Willington Cricket Club to train a coach and develop a girls team, Jude Gordon for boxing equipment, Willington Open Door Methodist Church for playground equipment and Parkside Academy to update a garden used for mental health therapies.

Charity shop coordinator Shirley Griffiths said: "Because of the fantastic support we had from the general public who kindly donate all sorts of items to sell, a loyal customer base and especially the volunteers who dedicate so much time to the shop we have been able to help 17 individuals and organisations.

"So many people in this community freely give their time to coach young people in sports and support other activities it is nice to be able to support them."