Friday, 24 October 2008

Anniversary for community youth volunteer scheme

THE first anniversary is being celebrated this month for a community youth development programme in Minehead which has seen youngsters rewarded for volunteering to help out in their local community.
‘Dreamscheme - Seaward Way’, the Minehead branch of the national Dreamscheme initiative, is run by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) from the Avon and Somerset Constabulary and youth service staff from Somerset County Council, with support from many other local and national organisations.
It encourages young people to earn points through a series of community-based work projects, including litter-picking and gardening.
Earning 10 points for every hour spent on a community project, the youths can redeem their points on social activities.
One recent Dreamscheme trip invited young people to redeem 15 of their points in return for a free game of ten pin bowling.
The project was established in Seaward Way last autumn by PCSOs Rachel Cutler and Luisa Skinner and it continues to engage local young people in community-based activities as well as holding a weekly youth club for the over-10s.
The October school half-term is a busy week for the Dreamscheme, and young people can take part in activities such as a gardening project in the nearby playground and baking cakes for a senior citizens’ coffee morning.
Their efforts will be rewarded with a volunteer-run Halloween party on October 31.
PCSO Luisa Skinner said: “The Dreamscheme project is really popular among young people in Minehead.
“They feel great about contributing to improving the area they live in and enjoy the benefits of the rewards.
“Local residents are all very supportive of the scheme and one year on, it is still going from strength to strength.”
County council Minehead ward Councillor Ian Galloway, who contributed £500 to the project from his community budget, said: “The Dreamscheme is a great outlet for young people in the area, and I am very grateful for the hard work and commitment that our local PCSOs and youth workers have put into this project.
“I have been very happy to make a contribution via our community budget to this valuable scheme for our younger citizens.”
County council community safety portfolio holder, Councillor Henry Hobhouse, said: “We are committed to providing services for local people at all stages of their lives, and have contributed £475,000 of funding for the county’s PCSOs.
“The Dreamscheme is an excellent example of the council and the police encouraging young people to release their potential for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
  • Our photograph shows youngsters on the Seaward Way estate being briefed on a litter pick earlier in the year. Photo submitted.

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