Isle youngsters celebrate 25 years of Lifestyle Project

Above are Ellie Fordam, Kyra Seaman, Bethany Furnish, Georgia Barker, with their cakes and below Thomas Russell, Ben Carby, Callum Gallagher, Ellis Clayforth, Jessica Russell, Lois Matthews, and Alice Lister. Pictures: Andrew Roe
Above are Ellie Fordam, Kyra Seaman, Bethany Furnish, Georgia Barker, with their cakes and below Thomas Russell, Ben Carby, Callum Gallagher, Ellis Clayforth, Jessica Russell, Lois Matthews, and Alice Lister. Pictures: Andrew Roe
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The school holidays offer youngsters six weeks of freedom from textbooks, teachers and exams.

But while the break is met with fevered excitement, young people can often find themselves at a loose end without much to do, leading police to fear that bored teenagers may be led down the wrong path and into a summer of causing a nuisance.

(Back l-r) Thomas Russell, 10, of Epworth, Ben Carby, 11, Callum Gallagher, 10, Ellis Clayforth, 10, of Owston Ferry, (front l-r) Jessica Russell, 12, of Epworth, Lois Matthews, 12, of Owston Ferry and Alice Lister, 12, of Sandtoft, are doing a lifestyle project. Picture: Andrew Roe

(Back l-r) Thomas Russell, 10, of Epworth, Ben Carby, 11, Callum Gallagher, 10, Ellis Clayforth, 10, of Owston Ferry, (front l-r) Jessica Russell, 12, of Epworth, Lois Matthews, 12, of Owston Ferry and Alice Lister, 12, of Sandtoft, are doing a lifestyle project. Picture: Andrew Roe

That concern was shared by two Humberside Police inspectors, Peter Wilshaw and Julian Rice, who decided to launch the Lifestyle project with the ethos of challenging young people to start projects which benefit their communities.

Now 25 years on, the scheme has seen more than 155,000 young people cross the region take part in an estimated 45,000 projects, including thousands of youngsters from the Isle.

Each year Lifestylers aged between 10 and 16 undertake a huge range of initiatives, from litter picks and community clean-ups to sponsored bike rides and fundraising events, helping raise tens of thousands of pounds each year. Last year alone £86,000 went to good causes. This year will be no exception with youngsters already planning to put their summer break to good use and hopefully in November being recognised for their efforts with and adventure trip or even a holiday to Florida.

Twelve-year-olds Jessica Russell, of Epworth, Owston Ferry’s Lois Matthews, and Alice Lister, 12, of Sandtoft, are among the latest batch of Lifestylers and will be raising money in memory of friend Aleaxnder Strong, who died earlier this year after losing his battle with cancer.

The group, called the English Breakfast Raiders, are planning a fundraiser at Epworth Youth Centre in aid of Bluebell Wood which helped the seven-year-old from Epworth before his death.

South Axholme Academy pupil Jessica, says: “We really wanted to do something for Alex. It’s the first time we have done a Lifestyle project and it’s really enjoyable.”

Meanwhile in Owston Ferry youngsters are getting their skates on as part of the Plan Z project.

Thomas Russell, 10, of Epworth, along with Ben Carby, 11, and 10-year-olds Callum Gallagher and Ellis Clayforth, all of Owston Ferry, are planning a sponsored scooter ride around the Isle on August 13 to raise money for a new skate park.

Callum, who attends St Martin’s CofE School, said: “I love the Lifestyle project. It gives young people something to do in the summer because it can get a bit boring.

“We want a skate park so young people have somewhere to skate without having to use the pavements.”

Elsewhere the Green Fingers of Owston Ferry group is hoping to spruce up the area around Castle Hill with a litter pick.

Madison Alcock, Georgia Brown and Brittany Wootton, all 11, are hoping to start work this month.

And in Westwoodside, the Flower Power girls Ellie and Chloe Fordam, Kyra Seaman, Bethany Furnish and Georgia Barker, have raised £178 from a stall and other events. The money will be used to buy flowers to plant in the gardens of Nicholas House Care Home in Haxey.

Mr Wilshaw, 63, who retired as head of Humberside CID in 1999, describes the Lifestyle project as the lasting legacy of his career.

He said: “I cannot think of anything from my long police career of which I am more proud. The scheme today remains essentially as we created it in 1989.

“We were confident that by giving youngsters the opportunity to work with adult help to complete a piece of positive work in their local area there would be positive long-lasting benefits. It has encouraged youngsters to view the police and to see law and order as positive elements and essential for a healthy and prosperous society.”

Matthew Grove, police and crime commissioner for Humberside, praised Isle youngsters for their dedication.

He said: “We have many young people in this area who we can be rightly proud of, and Lifestyle is a fantastic example of how young people make a positive contribution to their community.”