High Sheriff praises teenagers for improving their community
Young people working to reduce anti-social behaviour in Knottingley have been visited by the county's High Sheriff.
The teenagers, aged 14 to 17, have been working as part of a Youth Neighbourhood Watch Group to improve the town’s Hill Top area.
The High Sheriff of West Yorkshire Ed Anderson visited them with his wife on Friday to see their work in action.
He said: “One of the great privileges of being High Sheriff for a year is to have the opportunity to see some of the many community projects that are making a real difference to people’s lives.
“In this case, it was very heartening to see these young people delivering projects that will improve their local area and that are already achieving positive results.”
Local PCSO’s Aaron Riley and Richard Shaw set up the youth group, with the help of businesses and local partners, last year to help tackle anti-social behaviour among young people, littering and other complaints.
PCSO Shaw said: “In the short time since the implementation of the project, there have been some real tangible successes.
“Litter has been cleared, graffiti has been removed, a wall has been rebuilt and local businesses report far less issues with groups of youths.
“The project has provided the young people with a sense of purpose and personal responsibility. And we are already beginning to see youths previously involved in anti-social behaviour now challenging this behaviour.
“Without this intervention, I firmly believe the youths would have continued to perceive their involvement in anti-social behaviour as acceptable and the situation would have deteriorated.”
The youngsters hope to continue with more projects in the future.
The group follows the success of the Warwick Watchers Youth Neighbourhood Watch project, which was set up on Knottingley’s Warwick Estate in 2013.
Young people aged between 11 and 19 helped bring a number of improvements to the Warwick Estate area including installing benches, cutting grass and completing an £8,000 refurbishment of a well-used footpath, used as a shortcut from the estate to De Lacy Academy.
The Warwick Watchers group was thought to be the first of its kind in the country.