Dolly Birds have green fingers

Hartlepool & District Hospice gardener George Newbury was presented with a new lawnmower by the Dolly Birds

Hartlepool & District Hospice gardener George Newbury was presented with a new lawnmower by the Dolly Birds

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GREEN-FINGERED teenagers dedicated their time and hard work to a hospice as part of a summer scheme.

A group of girls, who are part of the National Citizen Service 2011 pilot scheme, have been hard at work in the gardens of Hartlepool & District Hospice, in the town’s Wells Avenue.

They spent a week in the hospice and even donated a new lawnmowner, to the delight of the hospice’s gardener, George Newbury.

The Dolly Birds, as they called themselves, are just some of the 1,000 16-year-olds in the Cleveland area taking part in the scheme.

The Government scheme is a Big Society initiative supporting young people from all backgrounds to work together, take on new challenges and make a difference.

Youngsters enjoyed a residential trip to Hexham, Northumberland, as a team building exercise and some got the opportunity for a short voyage on a tall ship.

The youngsters then got to work on their own projects within the community.

While one group was enjoying their time at the hospice, others were working on their own projects in the town.

The teenagers spent a week working full-time on their projects and it is hoped many will carry on their volunteering when the scheme comes to an end later this month.

Tracy Woodall, chief executive of the hospice, said having the young people around was great for the staff, the patients and the families.

She said: “The National Citizen Service is an excellent way of helping young people develop, grow and accept responsibility.

“The Dolly Birds took their responsibilities very seriously and were very professional.

“Our gardens now look fantastic and will be enjoyed by patients and families.

“We wish the Dolly Birds well in the future, they have even agreed to come back as volunteers to support our work.

“This is social action in practice.”

Christine Davidson, Cleveland Police youth manager, said: “The youngsters have all worked extremely hard at making their projects a success.

“As well as the brilliant work of the Dolly Birds at the hospice, other groups have worked on promoting reading in Hartlepool and another team have worked closely with the asylum-seekers community.”

“The whole aim of the National Citizen Service is for the youngsters to get to understand and know their community.”