Weston youth-run group expands as it has ‘reputation for making things happen

PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 August 2018

The Weston Eagles donate food to Somewhere To Go. Picture: Jill Dando News Centre

The Weston Eagles donate food to Somewhere To Go. Picture: Jill Dando News Centre

Archant

A Weston-super-Mare youth organisation which gives teenagers the chance to support good causes is continuing to expand.

The Weston Eagles donate food to Somewhere To Go. Picture: Jill Dando News CentreThe Weston Eagles donate food to Somewhere To Go. Picture: Jill Dando News Centre

Alex Crowther set up the Weston Eagles when he was a student at Worle’s Priory Community School, and the organisation has continued to grow, with branches now in Burnham, Taunton and Bridgwater.

Alex, aged 18, said: “It started because young people were getting a lot of bad press.

“My friends were doing good things in the community, so I brought them together under one umbrella.”

The teenagers started by helping the homeless, and now volunteer at events, including the Eat: Weston food festivals, and carry out regular litter-picks.

Weston Eagles at the Eat: Weston food festival.Weston Eagles at the Eat: Weston food festival.

The Eagles work by attracting sponsorship which can then be used for fundraising projects.

It means young people can come up with their own ideas, knowing they will get the financial backing and support from their peers.

Alex said: “If you have an idea, we can easily find the resources to support it.

“We have the money and contacts and make it happen.

“We can offer advice, but it is the young person’s project.

“We have a reputation now for making things happen.”

The group’s work has started to become so well-known in Somerset, some non-profit youth-run groups which were struggling financially have been adopted under the Eagles banner.

Alex said: “We go in and get their finances back on track, and then the young people can keep giving to their community.”

There are benefits for the young people too, who can include their volunteering in their CVs.

Alex said: “Jobs are getting so scarce now, you need anything to give you an edge.”

Katie Crowther, Alex’s sister who is also part of the Eagles, says the organisation has a really positive vie to it.

Katie added: “The biggest benefit is how you feel about doing it.

“It is good to make an impact in your community.”

Alex has bigger ambitions for the Eagles too, which includes expanding even further.

He hopes to grow the Weston Eagles to hundreds of young people, and believes the concept could extend down the whole of the South West coast, down to Cornwall.

A phone app may also be on the way, where teenagers can submit how many hours of volunteering they have done in return for rewards.

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