FIVE teenagers enjoyed being part of a Morpeth youth group so much that they decided to stay on and run their own session.
Now Ashley Robbie, 17, Macaulay Kelly, 18, Jamie Brown, 19, Natalie Clark, 17, and Gordon McKay, 18, are relishing their roles as volunteers for the Morpeth and Coquetdale Youth Service.
The current or former King Edward VI School students stepped up when they were 16 and have since organised events and activities for the 13-16 age group both at the Morpeth headquarters on the KEVI site near the old ski slope and elsewhere.
Ashley said: “We all came here in Year 9 and we had a lot of fun, so when we got to 16 we asked if we could carry on with the group and it was suggested that we become volunteers.”
Natalie added: “It was a little weird at first having control over people just a couple of years younger, but we all hung out before taking on these roles and we are one big family so it soon became easier.”
The five are among a group of 16-to-19-year-olds who meet on Wednesday evenings to plan events at headquarters and outings, and they are among the leaders of the Thursday evening session for 13-to-16-year-olds.
On Wednesdays they also put together applications for money from Keyfund and successful bids have included funding for trips to places such as Deneholme in Allendale, where the young people enjoyed a range of outdoor activities on site and close by, and a Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii console.
Macaulay said: “We are given the freedom to come up with activities and lead them, but the youth workers are always there if we need help. They have given us excellent support.
“The sessions and trips give young people something to look forward to and keeps them off the streets.”
Next month there will be a battle of the sexes to raise money for Comic Relief with boys and girls, including the volunteers, doing a range of colourful fundraising events.
And thanks to another successful Keyfund bid they will be returning to Deneholme during the Easter holidays.
Senior Youth Worker Leah McKenzie said: “You can see a progression from when these five first started and they have developed into mature and responsible young adults.
“Some of the younger ones who come up to 16 can see what they have done and perhaps go on to follow in their footsteps.”
Morpeth and Coquetdale Youth Service’s Advanced Youth Work Practitioner Hayley Johnson said: “As they have been on the other side themselves, they are able to provide excellent support and guidance to the 13-to-16-year-olds.
“It would be nice to have volunteers for all our sessions, which includes some at Barnabas Safe and Sound.”
The service runs sessions from Monday to Thursday and there are extra activities held on Saturdays. For more information telephone 01670 519469.