Friday 24th July 2015
A three-hour stint of litter picking in Plaistow last Saturday (18 July) turned out to be an invaluable experience for young people from the local Victory Youth Group (VYG) and impressed local residents and Councillors.
The occasion was the VYG’s annual We Care! – Youth Engagement event, when members of this Christian youth group for 15-24 year olds tackle environmental tasks in their communities, in association with the local authorities.
In some areas the volunteers help to maintain parks and open spaces, but in Plaistow it was grittier. One volunteer, Theo King, said: “Participating in the We Care! event opened my eyes to how the community takes care of their borough. I realised that people do consider the local litter problem but not enough to take action. [In future] I will take extra care not to add to the litter problem as I would be undoing all the hard work we achieved through the event.”
His colleague, Isaac Frimpong added: “I expected [the task] would be boring and quick to clean but I was wrong. It made me appreciate the work of the people who clean those streets as they take a while to clean up using the pickers.”
Another VYG member, Sheneka Walcott said: “It was nice to do something for my local area and it was very rewarding. It really showed me that littering is unnecessary and now whenever I have rubbish, I hold it until I find a bin”.
During the three hours the VYG was cleaning up, local Councillors were very impressed, stating that the volunteers’ “behaviour and conduct was impeccable” and that they “were an example to others on how they should value their community”. Local people also took an interest in the clean up by stopping volunteers to ask about what they were doing.
The way We Care! – Youth Engagement is set up, is that the UCKG, a charity and Pentecostal church, approaches local authorities everywhere it has established HelpCentres. Arrangements are made for teams of youths from its local VYG branches to undertake tasks of benefit to the wider community, with the joint aims of making a positive difference and combatting negative stereotypes of young people, particularly in the capital.
Kim Powell the UCKG HelpCentre’s Community Outreach Coordinator said: “Youths are often blamed for causing trouble and disturbances. Yet, as we know in the VYG, many young people are really keen to make a positive impact in their local communities. We hope this community outreach initiative will help to encourage positive attitudes toward young people.”
Notes to editors
UCKG is a Christian church and registered charity that offers a range of practical support activities alongside spiritual support and comfort and welcomes all-comers. It reached the UK in 1995 and has gone from strength to strength, providing support and spreading the Christian faith. There are UCKG HelpCentre branches in England and Wales.
VYG is the UCKG HelpCentre’s youth group. Open to 15 – 25 year olds, the VYG provides family-style peer group support and helps and encourages the young to be the best that they can be.
For further information please contact the UCKG HelpCentre Press Officer via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or direct line 020 7686 6033.