BBC Children in Need have made a big difference to the lives of teenagers in Sunderland with the A690 Youth Initiative.
17 year old success story Tanya Boyd said: “I was drinking, arrested for shoplifting. I’d just fight for the simplest little thing.
“When I was drunk I was very aggressive towards the police. I caused a lot of problems at home. I went downhill at school and I ended up being violent towards one of the teachers and I got expelled for good. I just kept thinking to myself, well why do I carry on, it just makes things worse, but then I kept doing it.”
Children in Need has donated £60,000 to the initiative and has helped youth workers support people like Tanya.
In the North East of England alone, Children in Need donated £1,078,781 to 22 projects.
Youth workers with the A690 Youth Initiative visit and work with young people on the streets as many do not want to visit organised groups or youth clubs. They offer help to children who are in trouble due to chaotic home lives who may have started drinking, taking drugs or be otherwise at risk.
Jim Ferry, who is the project manager, says that consistency – “which for a lot of young people is non-existent in their life” – is crucial.
Tanya believes that she is a different person now: “It’s a weird feeling inside. I think to myself, when I was 14, 15, if a kid had come to me and says I need your help I’d have honestly just told them where to go.
“But when I help them and they say, ‘Thank you, that really made a difference’, it’s like, I did that, I made a difference to them.”