Twizell Youth Action Project
Project Category: Registered charity
The Twizell Burn is a tributary of the River Wear and runs from Stanley, Grange Villa and Pelton Fellbefore joining the River Wear at Chester-le-Street. The Twizell burn runs through a number of deprived communities including Craghead and South Stanley, listed in the bottom 15% of areas in England according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation * and Grange Villa and West Pelton, listed in the bottom 16% ** (See links at the end of the document).
Over much of its length the burn flows through areas of high amenity and wildlife value including a network of heathland and woodland. However water and habitat quality fails against recognised standards due channel modifications, runoff from urban areas and mining/land fill legacies. Working through the Greening Twizell Partnership, WRT have been involved in delivering multiple habitat restoration projects to address this. These projects have succeeded in creating and restoring river and wetland habitats within the catchment and engaging schools and a wide range of volunteer groups.
However anti-social behaviour, including vandalism, under-age drinking and suspected drug use, is a real problem in the area. This is threatening the habitat restoration works and the local amenity areas in general, and deterring people, particularly families, from using the local open spaces and surrounding countryside.
With the Greggs Community Foundation fund we are able to help tackle this issue by working with and engaging young people from the local area, including those involved in anti-social behaviour, to involve them in our river restoration work, giving them a stake in, and sense of ownership of their local environment. We will work with STARS Youth and Community Co-operative who have established community networks and a track-record of working with young people in the Stanley area.
Working with STARS we plan to engage young people in river/wetland restoration tasks such as wetland planting, pond maintenance and in-stream habitat restoration. We will also provide them with opportunities to help design interpretative displays and/or sculptures describing the habitat improvements works and create river-themed artwork to be displayed locally. As well as discovering more about the river, the wildlife it supports and the importance of looking after it, the young people involved will enhance their team-work, organisational, social, practical and creative skills.
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