Youngsters deserve praise for their work

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STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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Sadly the abiding image from this summer will be the sight of hordes of youths rioting and looting in London, Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere across the country.

We are thankful that there was no similar disturbance in Portsmouth or its surrounding towns, and glad that no youngsters in our city appeared to be sufficiently disaffected to create anarchy. As a newspaper we are always keen to show that the modern stereotype of the hoodie-clad menacing youth is by no means always true.

In today’s paper, for example, first read the page three story of admirable young Aimee Chase who chopped off her long locks to raise money for charity and also provide hair for wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment.

Then turn to page five to find out about the youngsters who have just finished a volunteering scheme with the Respect Programme run by Pompey Sports and Education Foundation.

The importance of this scheme is twofold. Firstly, it does show youngsters in a good light. But secondly, and almost more importantly, it shows youngsters that it is possible for them to be seen in a good light by the rest of society, and that they do have a role to play in the wider world.

The team of 13 seems to have had a great time creating their events guide website, and so they should have. We hope this scheme continues to flourish and that it opens many more people’s eyes to the value of volunteering.

Like towns and cities across the country, Portsmouth is fortunate to have hundreds of people every day working within organised voluntary schemes, and hundreds who give up their time willingly unofficially, maybe to help out a neighbour or a friend.

This kind of work is one of the forms of glue that holds our society, and our city together, and we are all the richer for it.

And in the case of the Respect programme, it is doubly appropriate as another factor that bonds our city is, obviously, the high regard in which the football club is held. We commend the club and volunteers for their work – congratulations to all.