A NEW project to put young offenders on the right track has been launched as part of Wyre Council’s bid for £2.4m funding to give Memorial Park in Fleetwood a complete facelift.
It is hoped the scheme could benefit the town in a number of different ways.
Veterans will be working with young people, including those who have been in trouble with the law, as part of the council’s bid for Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funding for better facilities for the Grade II listed park.
Coun Terry Rogers, Wyre Council’s Armed Forces Champion, is the driving force behind the Pharos Project – a series of six-week programmes aimed at bringing veterans, young people and the rest of Fleetwood together.
He said: “It’s about what we, as veterans, can do for the community in integrating youths, especially young offenders, and sharing our life experiences in the forces to try and give them guidance.
“It’s about getting them, we hope, back on the straight and narrow.
“We want to use veterans and serving soldiers to get the message across that if they’re thinking they have it bad, they should have seen what we went through.”
The first programme was due to start earlier this week when veterans, schoolchildren, young offenders and members of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment were set to visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Coun Rogers hopes to give young people an understanding of what the Armed Forces community do and an insight into the sacrifices made by servicemen and women in wars over the past 100 years.
He added: “The second part of the programme will be the intervention by the veterans and then there will be an appraisal of what we’ve done and how it’s affected the young people from the youth offending team.
“Hopefully it will have made a difference in a positive way.”
He said there would be four six-week programmes from now until November 2014.
The bid for £2.4m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund is due to be submitted this month with a decision expected in September.
If funding is granted, improvements to the park could include better sport and play equipment, improved pathways, and essential conservation work.
Anyone interested in taking part in the Pharos Project can contact Coun Rogers on (01253) 770369 or visit www. wyre.gov.uk and search Armed Forces Champion.