Young offenders serve up a treat for older people in Otley

Picture caption: One young person serves up tea and cakes for older people from Otley Action.

The north west Leeds youth offending team organised an afternoon tea party with a difference, for a group of older residents in Otley.

A group of six young people who are involved with the council’s youth offending team volunteered to prepare a slap up meal for a group from the Otley Action for Older People. The young people spent time planning and preparing for the event as well as hosting the tea party for the older people who have memory problems and / or physical disabilities.

Over 30 senior citizens enjoyed homemade soup, cakes and drinks prepared and served by young people under the supervision of the YOS.

Entertainment took the form of a sing-a-long – everything from Vera Lynn to Oasis, where the vocalist was accompanied by a young person on the guitar. The older residents also enjoyed a bingo session with the caller being one of the young people.

The event was an example of the reparation work regularly undertaken by the young people supervised by Leeds youth offending service. Following sentencing at court we expect the majority of young people to carry out some reparation as part of their court order.

Stephen Maw from Leeds City Council’s West North West Youth Offending Team said:“It’s a really positive way for young people to give something back to the communities where they have offended. It was great to see them getting so involved with both the preparation for the event and then the actual day itself. All the feedback we received from the elderly people was extremely positive and the group are keen to have us back at the earliest opportunity.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services said: “This is a really heart-warming situation, where youngsters who have found themselves in trouble, have taken a really positive step by putting in a lot of effort and giving up their spare time for the benefit of others. Proving that with the right help they can start to turn their lives around.

“These young people set a great example to other youngsters, showing such fantastic initiative and great community spirit.”

Catherine Greenwood, Inclusion Worker Otley Action for Older People, said:“Otley Action was very pleased to work in collaboration with the Youth Offending Service for the Summer Tea Party. The event was a huge success. The young people thoroughly embraced their roles working with the older people, making it not only special but a memorable event for them.”

One service user from Otley Action said that she had 'an excellent time and she was so pleased that the young people came and sat with her.' She also said that the 'soup and cakes were fantastic'. One older volunteer was very impressed with the event and felt that they young people presented themselves very well.

More information about the Youth Offending Service can be found at: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/pages/leeds-youth-offending-service.aspx

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk