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'We understand how hard it can be': Youth group organise free days out for low-income families

PUBLISHED: 12:26 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 25 July 2019

The group of 15 and 16 year olds have just finished secondary school. Photo: Katie Landles

The group of 15 and 16 year olds have just finished secondary school. Photo: Katie Landles

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Teenagers from Lowestoft have been raising funds with the support of businesses to provide free days out with 'summer essential' boxes for low-income families.

The group decided to work with local businesses and foodbanks to provide free days out for those who otherwise couldn't afford it. Photo: Katie LandlesThe group decided to work with local businesses and foodbanks to provide free days out for those who otherwise couldn't afford it. Photo: Katie Landles

The youngsters undertook the project as part of their National Citizenship Service (NCS) journey.

The NCS group hosted a quiz night in order to raise initial funds for their project, and then organised pitches with the East Coast Cinema, Wilko, Tesco, Co-Op and Rollers skating rink to provide free days out and to fill boxes with essentials like sun cream, water, trips out and even toys and games.

In a group statement, they said: "We are incredibly proud of ourselves to have achieved our goal to create the 20 summer boxes for families who will appreciate the ease they will bring in these holidays.

"As a group we have a passion to help low income families within our community.

The group decided to work with local businesses and foodbanks to provide free days out for those who otherwise couldn't afford it. Photo: Katie LandlesThe group decided to work with local businesses and foodbanks to provide free days out for those who otherwise couldn't afford it. Photo: Katie Landles

"With the summer holidays approaching we understand how hard it can be for some to afford."

The names of the eleven youngsters involved are Alex Carr, Bethany Patterson, Hannah Hocking, Jacob Gibbs, Luke Copeman, Molly Jones, Polly Munro, Riley McKenzie, Thomas flynn, and Oliver Walters. One other did not wish to be named.

The NCS is a government funded programme for 15 to 16-year-olds which the group says helps them challenge themselves, overcome obstacles and better themselves.

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Katie Landles, a second year medical student from the University of East Anglia, leads the group with Harry Pickess, a second year sports science student at the University of Bath.

Ms. Landles said: "The 'make a difference' project just broadens their concept of poverty being on our doorstep in Lowestoft.

"I think the team have brought this concept to life, and have also taken on new responsibilities.

"They run it all themselves."

Over two weeks the group worked hard to fundraise, and to formally pitch their business ideas with local businesses.

Tomorrow they will do their final pitch to Asda, which the group feel confident about doing well in.

On Friday, July 26, the group will hand their boxes into the Lowestoft Foodbank, so they can be distributed to low-income families in the area.

They added: "There was a clear display of care shown by the community through the generosity of donations.

"We hope that in future the community can come togethert again to sustain the legacy of our project."

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