Awards spotlight on youth project

AN AWARD scheme set up in memory of murdered London headteacher Philip Lawrence has turned the spotlight on a project by young people in Goole aimed at keeping teenagers on the right side of the law.

The group, which has been helping to develop derelict spaces for their local community, has been declared amongst the best youth projects in Yorkshire and the Humber by the Philip Lawrence Awards. The awards celebrate outstanding contributions made by 11- to 20-year-olds in their community.

Members of the Goole Community Space Challenge are now in the running to win an award and 1,000 to support their work.

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The awards were set up in memory of Mr Lawrence, a former pupil of Ampleforth College, North Yorkshire, who was stabbed to death outside his school in December 1995.

More than 200 nominations were received this year from all over the UK, and a judging panel of young people, all former winners themselves, chose the 35 regional finalists.

The Community Space Challenge encourages young people to take a leading role in transforming the community, particularly those at risk of becoming involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.

Members produced art work at a local children's centre, worked on a neglected park, developed a community allotment, and removed graffiti. Future plans include creating a wildlife pond at a local nature reserve.

Mr Lawrence's widow Frances said: "The young people involved show compassion for others, understanding of their problems, and determination to change things for the better.

"They have created a project that makes a true difference to their community, helping others to live more fully, and establishing an atmosphere of trust between generations and cultures. It is in these inspirational young people that society has its greatest cause for optimism."