AN innovative youth project that inspires youngsters engaged with the Youth Offending Service to clean up graffiti has received a special accolade.

The High Sheriff of Cheshire, Martin Beaumont, presented Youth Graffiti Solutions (YGS) with the prestigious 2013 Butler Trust Certificate in recognition of their excellent teamwork.

The trust is an indepentent charity that celebrates and promotes excellence in UK prisons, probation and youth services.

Youngsters blast high pressure sprays on walls, subways and pavements daubed with offensive signs, messages and chewing gum to clean up Halton’s environment.

Jamie Newman, aged 18, from Runcorn said: "About a year ago I was convinced I would have to sign on to get Job Seekers' Allowance, now I am with YGS it’s changed the way I look at life.”

Jordan Smith, aged 16, from Runcorn, said: "Since leaving school I have got some good experience of day to day work. I’ve also picked up some good skills to use in the working environment.’’ The team is supervised by trained adults and includes two apprentices, who act as role models.

Kath O’Dwyer, chairman of the Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Youth Offending Service, said: “We are very proud of our young people and we are delighted that they have been recognised by the High Sheriff of Cheshire.

"They epitomise teamwork as they support each other, have a great ‘can do’ attitude and are serious about making a contribution to their local communities.

"We are very passionate about providing these young people with opportunities to improve their life chances by learning new skills while at the same time developing their personal and social skills.

“This service has continued to go from strength to strength since it began in January 2012 and is gaining recognition at a regional and national level.”