Rifty group sets to with spruce-up

Members of the Rifty youth group have a clean-up at Masefield Road Community Centre. Front, Coun Stephen
Members of the Rifty youth group have a clean-up at Masefield Road Community Centre. Front, Coun Stephen

COMMUNITY-spirited youngsters have helped spruce up their local area by taking part in a sponsored clean-up.

The award-winning Rifty youth group provides a range of activities to help keep youngsters aged between eight and 18 occupied on Friday nights.

But in order to give something back, the youngsters took time out from their summer holidays to litter pick in streets in the Rift House area.

All of the money raised from the event, which is still being counted, will go towards the running costs of the youth group.

The community clean-up started at the Masefield Road Centre, were the Rifty youth group meets, before spreading to surrounding streets.

Youngsters used litter picks, plastic bags and cloths to give the area a general tidy up.

Dozens of youngsters enjoy activities and social events at the Rifty youth group every Friday night.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, who represents the Rift House ward, helped set up the youth group and is now project co-ordinator.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “Younger members of the club took part in the clean-up in the Rift House area.

“It started at the Masefield Road Centre and then spread to surrounding streets.

“We held a session trying to come up with different ways to raise funds and this was one of them.

“Times are hard for all voluntary groups so every little helps.”

He added: “This shows that the Rifty is more than just a youth project.

“It shows that the young people respect their community. There is a great community spirit in this area.”

The Rifty youth club, which is attended by 60 youngsters, has previously been recognised in Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Community Awards, which see people from across the region honoured for their efforts to make the area a better place.

The Rifty, which is run by the Rift House East Residents’ Association at the town’s Masefield Road Centre, won the neighbourhoods and environment gong earlier this year.

The club is open on Fridays, between 5pm and 8pm with separate sessions for eight to 13-year-olds and 14 to 18-year-olds.

For more information call Coun Akers-Belcher on 07904402864.